Even though the Thunder are a young and dangerous team, they still aren't a deep or experienced group. They are going to let you hang around and over come mistakes that better teams won't and the Suns needed that to pull out a win.
The story of this game is pretty darn simple: Suns starters come out flat and fall behind. Suns bench comes in with energy and lifts the team. A young Thunder team helps by playing sloppy and without cohesion. Late big shots by the Suns to close out the game.
Not a surprising story really and one we wouldn't really think twice about if the Suns had 10 more wins in the win column and were solidly in the playoff hunt. But given what this team has gone through this season, including going the last 13 days and 6 games without a win, it was a very nice result.
It was fun to see guys like Dragic, Lopez and Tucker play well and Dudley was the difference in the game. Defensively, the Suns were able to tighten up in the 2nd half only giving up 43 points. This is a game that is played on both ends of the floor and you have to appreciate and applaud the effort when it's given.
Of the starters, only Grant Hill played great and Nash was solid if not spectacular. Shaq got into early foul trouble for the second game in a row. That could be coincidence but Shaq is a very smart player and knows how to use his fouls. If he starts to consistently find himself on the bench with three fouls you can be sure we will be talking more about this topic. Of course at this point, maybe giving those extra minutes to Lopez isn't the worst option.
The Big Fella did play better in the second half and we saw some signs of improvement with how the team worked with him and the double teams he's drawing.
Richardson was non-factor, only putting up 6 points in 21 minutes. After a rousing welcome to Phoenix, he's not exactly endeared himself to the locals.
Barbosa's three big three's helped close out the game but at that point and really all of the second half it felt as if the
Suns Dudley's effort on the glass and on defense were going to earn the win.
It was good to see the Suns get the win and I liked the way they got it.