Not many teams can turn the ball over 20+ times and get outrebounded by nearly 20 boards and still come away with a win. The Phoenix Suns are no exception. Oklahoma City outmuscled and outhustled the Suns on the way to a 124-103 blowout win.
Eric Bledsoe continues to make his case for being the undisputed leader and face of this franchise with a dogged and focused 28 point, 11 assist performance. He was the only starter providing any kind of offensive efficiency. While Markieff Morris and Brandon Knight contributed 19 and 14 points respectively, it took them 34 shots to get there. PJ Tucker and Tyson Chandler were invisible on offensive, combining for 4 points on 1-8 shooting.
Compare that to the Oklahoma City Thunder, whose starters scored 77 points on 50% shooting. Unsurprisingly, Kevin Durant (32 points, 11 rebounds) and Russell Westbrook (21 points, 13 assist, 6 rebounds, 4 steals) led the charge for Oklahoma City.
Also compare OKC's 15 turnovers to Phoenix's 23. And their 17 offensive rebounds to the Suns' 7. That's an 18 possession swing for Oklahoma City. While one can look to Brandon Knight's 8 turnovers and point a finger, the rebounding deficit was a team wide effort.
Phoenix will look to both literally and figuratively rebound from this loss on Thursday against the Clippers in Los Angeles.
Another cold shooting night from Phoenix's starters (2-16 FGs outside of Eric Bledsoe) started the team in a 29-14 hole to Oklahoma City behind strong play by Russell Westbrook, who had 6 points, 6 assists and 3 steals in the period. But then, Eric Bledsoe and the bench destroyed the Thunder's reserves. Phoenix ran off 15 unanswered points in 2:51 to tie the game 29-29. Bled played like a man on a mission in the first, scoring 15 points on 6-7 shooting, including a sick putback dunk over everyone.
In the second quarter, the Suns couldn't get out of their own way, turning the ball over 11 times for 15 OKC points. Phoenix also conceded 7 offensive rebounds, costing them another 10 points. That's 25 of the Thunder's 31 second quarter points. Despite the miscues, the Suns' shooting picked up. Phoenix had a balanced offensive effort, shooting 64% from the field to stay within 6 points. Dion Waiters chipped in 10 points to give the Thunder a 60-54 lead at the half.
Oklahoma City put the game a little further out of reach in the third quarter. The Phoenix and Oklahoma City starters dueled to a draw for the first half of the quarter, with the Suns staying within 6 points. But Kevin Durant decided he had had enough of that. Durant had 9 3rd quarter points including a 3 pointer from somewhere in the vicinity of Tulsa and a powerful dunk. The Phoenix bench was unable to rekindle their red hot magic from the 1st quarter and the Suns trailed 89-77 going into the fourth quarter.
Phoenix's turnover woes followed them into the 4th quarter and ultimately prevented them from getting back in this one. After cutting the lead to 9 points on a nifty Eric Bledsoe assist to TJ Warren for an uncontested dunk, the Thunder took advantage of Phoenix misses and miscues to go on a 16-3 run to put the game out of reach for good.