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Thunder Survives Suns on Big Night from Russell Westbrook


The Oklahoma City Thunder looked lost from the jump on Friday night in Phoenix, giving up 37 first quarter points and trailing the Suns by seven at the halftime break. Phoenix hit 6-of-13 from downtown in the first two quarters — making a number of difficult shots and repeatedly exploiting a porous Thunder defense.

The trend continued to open the third, as the Suns used a quick start to hold an 11-point lead at the 6:03 mark of the quarter. The Thunder then found a bit of rhythm, outscoring Phoenix 18-9 over the remainder of the frame and trimming the deficit to just two entering the final 12 minutes.

OKC got off on the right foot in the fourth, using solid bench play to go on a 13-5 run to take a 110-104 lead with 6:50 to go. The Suns battled back, taking a two-point advantage before a Russell Westbrook layup knotted it at 116-116 with just 1:32 left in the ballgame.

After a timely defensive stop, Westbrook — who shot 9/13 in the second half — stepped up and made a play when it mattered most. He calmly sank a three off an assist from Steven Adams with 56 seconds remaining, giving the Thunder a 119-116 advantage.

Westbrook would go on to make two free throws and later turned a Paul George steal into a dunk, putting the game out of reach with 10.6 seconds to go. The Thunder went on to escape Phoenix with a 124-116 victory.

All told, the Thunder erased a 13-point Phoenix lead to steal a game it very much looked out of. Russell Westbrook was electric, dropping 43 points, 14 rebounds and 8 assists on 16/25 shooting. He scored 24 points in the second half alone, willing OKC to victory on a night that, for the most part, looked absolutely pathetic.

Paul George was next in line with 20 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals. Carmelo Anthony added 14 of his own. Steven Adams and Jerami Grant scored 11 apiece.

The come-from-behind victory makes the Thunder 37-27 on the season. Back in action tomorrow night in Portland.



47.9: Both teams shot 47.9 percent from the field. The Suns were 11/25 (44 percent) from deep, with OKC going 11/34 (32.4 percent).

72.4: The Thunder shot 21/29 from the stripe, good for 72.4 percent.

+4: OKC won 48-44 on the glass, 16-13 on the offensive end. Steven Adams was held to just one offensive rebound.

11: The Thunder had 11 turnovers, resulting in just seven points for the Suns.

58: Both teams scored 58 points in the paint.

33: Both teams got 33 points out of its bench.

4 & 6: There were four lead changes and six ties.

+10: The Thunder outscored Phoenix by 10 in the fourth quarter. That was the game.

Russell Westbrook

Final stat line for Russ:

43 points, 14 rebounds, 8 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 16/25 FG, 2/4 3P, 9/11 FT

The reigning MVP was everything for the Thunder tonight, giving the team juice when there was none to go around. It was easily his finest performance since the All-Star break, and one OKC needed to avoid a catastrophic loss to a bad team.

His highlights:

For further proof of his workmanlike approach to the evening, he even stopped and helped mop the floor about midway through the third quarter. Complete performance all around.

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