The return of T.J. Warren, who missed 13 games with an undisclosed “head injury”, turned out to be pretty much the extent of the good news for the Suns this night.
Warren played sparingly... coming off the bench to log only 14 minutes and score just two points... but it was nice to see him back in the lineup.
I wasn’t the only one whispering about the recently improved play of the Suns, but any progress wasn’t very evident in a blowout loss that wasn’t as close as the 114-101 score indicates.
This stat pretty much sums up which team was bringing the fight to this game. The Thunder outscored the Suns, who play the second fastest pace in the league, on fastbreak points 22-0.
Devin Booker shook off a recent stretch of poor shooting performances and went for a game high 31 points, including a 20 point third quarter. It was Booker’s fifth 30 point game this season, the last coming against the Denver Nuggets on November 27th.
I can’t really think of many nice things to say about anyone else on the Suns, so I’ll just stop right there.
Meanwhile, the Suns were lucky enough to run into the buzzsaw of Russell Westbrook on one of his more spectacular (and efficient) nights.
After going for 50 points in a triple double against the Suns last time, this time he went for 26 points, 11 rebounds and 22 assists. He was 9-17 from the field and 7-7 from the line.
Only Magic Johnson (twice), Isaiah Thomas and Rod Strickland had previously accomplished the feat of a 20 point, 20 assist triple double.
Westbrook’s 22 assists were six more than the Suns managed as a team (16).
Reverse Standings Update:
From a silver linings aspect, this loss puts the Suns (8-19) in a virtual tie for the third best record with the Minnesota Timberwolves (7-18) and Brooklyn Nets (7-18).
The Suns next opponent... the Minnesota Timberwolves.