The Oklahoma The Oklahoma City Thunder Clap the Phoenix Suns, 107-97. Happy New Years!

The Phoenix Suns (1-3) end the 2011 calendar year with a loss to the extremely hot, cohesive and still unbeaten Oklahoma City Thunder (5-0). Kevin Durant was held in check for most of the night but despite shooting 4 of 11 the Thunder easily handled the Suns. They really didn't need him.

As expected on the second night of a back-to-back our Suns starters came out very cold and slow and early found themselves down 19-9 at one point. The rest of the game was a tale of ups and downs... but mostly downs. Though the Suns had pulled to within 3 at one point and ended the 1st quarter down by only 5 - the second quarter got out of hand as Daequan Cook nailed 4 of 5 3-point attempts and the Thunder pulled away for a 20 point lead. The Suns defense clamped down near the end of the half and only allowed the Thunder to score 6 points in the final 6 minutes of the 2nd quarter - still the Thunder shot 58% from the field and the score was 60-46 Oklahoma at the half.

Coming back from the break the Suns again came out offensively flat and the Thunder improved their shooting percentages and pulled away to a comfortable lead. With about 6 minutes left in the 3rd quarter the Suns starters (with the exception of Jared Dudley) took a seat for good and the bench played out the rest of the game.

There were some positives... there were a lot of negatives... AND there's always next year. Let's just pretend like 2011 didn't happen, OK? Jump it for a few extra notes - or else, go and party hard and welcome in the New Year - be safe everyone!

Here are my notes - because I'm too lazy on this New Year's Eve to take extra time on this loss recap.. you get table scrap notes! Yay!

NOTES:

  • Gortat's thumb really hindering his ability - frustrating, but still playing great defense
  • Robin Lopez and Jared Dudley working hard
  • Josh Childress with a lot of energy tonight
  • Morris with a lot of rookie mistakes - (bad passes, not recovering from screen help, dumb fouls)
  • Ronnie Price with some questionable PG decisions (cross court jump pass, bounce pass to Robin Lopez on a 3 v. 1 fastbreak)
  • Defense slippage in the 2nd and Nobody can make a shot
  • Daquan Cook with 4 3's in the 2nd... boo.
  • Nash hurt? Leander "He does not look healthy" - wincing and tugging his shorts after making a 3-point shot
  • Shannon Brown playing really well.. but still dribbling the air out of the ball and stagnating the offense
  • Suns switched to a zone with 2 minutes to go in the 2nd quarter... interesting because it worked. But we never saw it again this game.
  • --
  • Sloppy basketball in the 3rd - but gritty performances by some (Jared Dudley especially)
  • Price showing a very physical competitive edge late in the 3rd. Getting under Westbrooks skin and getting a hand in on every play
  • This game is gone.
  • Durant won't return.
  • A lot of standing around.. stagnant putrid depressing offense
  • Bla blablablalalk;jdaokdvma;okjf I'm done.
  • Is it time for new years yet?

Conclusion:

Hey did we really expect to win this? The Thunder are the number 1 team in the Western Conference and many pundits have chosen them to win it all. They have the most returning players, they have the best player (debatable) in the NBA and they have a seemingly endless fountain of youth, talent, shooters, bigs, and other important basketball stuff that makes your team good.

The Suns, not as much. While the Thunder are a team that is boiling and running at a full sprint, the Phoenix Suns are team struggling to simmer.

Like I've said this past week, 1-4 isn't good - but I won't lose hope or realistic expectation for this Suns team to make the playoffs until there is a big enough pool of games and team adjustments to judge from. The West is wide open, and playing the OKC Thunder was a good measuring stick. We need A LOT of work.

Be safe this New Years my friends. Stay Frosty.

Eutychus' Record: 0-1 :(

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