Oklahoma City withstood an injury scare to Russell Westbrook and a hot-shooting Phoenix Suns squad to win its third consecutive game—and 15th in the past 17 games—downing the Suns by a score of 114-96 at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City on New Year’s Eve.
Phoenix trailed by only six points, 84-78, heading into the fourth quarter, and the Suns cut the lead to four with just over nine minutes remaining in the game.
But Oklahoma City went on a 26-11 run to end the game, and Phoenix’s chances of pulling off the upset.
Westbrook was forced from the game late in the second quarter, and his return was in serious jeopardy, as The Oklahoman’s John Rohde noted (via Twitter):
Russell Westbrook goes to locker room with bloody face near right eye. Done for the half. 50-50 with 1:13 remaining.— John Rohde (@RohdeOK) January 1, 2013
But as Rohde reported shortly thereafter, Westbrook returned (via Twitter):
Westbrook stitches above right eye. Will return.— John Rohde (@RohdeOK) January 1, 2013
He would finish the game with 24 points (7-of-16 shooting), seven rebounds and nine assists.
Kevin Durant led all scorers with 30 points (12-of-24 from the field)—one of five Thunder players to hit double digits. Serge Ibaka (16 points), Thabo Sefolosha (14 points) and Nick Collison (10 points) were the others.
Luis Scola led the Suns with 24 points (10-of-17 from the field), while Marcin Gortat picked up his 11th double-double of the season, chipping in 12 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.
For the complete box score, check NBA.com.
Oklahoma City improved to 24-6 on the season while Phoenix, which has now lost six straight, fell to 11-21
Player of the Game: Russell Westbrook, PG, Oklahoma City Thunder
Despite needing stitches to close the gash over his eye, Westbrook’s toughness and determination allowed him to put together another complete game, falling three rebounds and one assist shy of a triple-double.
He made Goran Dragic look foolish at points, blowing past him into the lane and essentially doing whatever he wanted to do on the court.
Up Next for the Suns
Phoenix, which last won back on December 19 against the woeful Charlotte Bobcats, heads home for a three-game homestand with the hope that familiar surroundings will bring different results.
The Suns face the Philadelphia 76ers (14-17) on Wednesday, the Utah Jazz (15-17) on Friday and the Memphis Grizzlies (19-9) on Sunday.
Up Next for theThunder
Oklahoma City’s homestand continues, with games against the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday and the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday.
A trip to Toronto on Sunday starts a stretch of 14 games, one that extends to the end of January, which will see the Thunder play only three games at home.