The Phoenix Suns took big leads in each half only to see OKC Thunder right back into it, until finally Chris Paul and Devin Booker closed out the game with big scoring in the fourth quarter when the team needed it most.
The Thunder would not go quietly, but the Suns would ultimately win their 15th straight home game and continue their run with the best record in the NBA at 26-5.
Suns win 113-101.
Devin Booker finished with 30 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists and 2 steals (and 2 turnovers). Deandre Ayton had 19 points, 12 rebounds and 2 blocks. Chris Paul had 16 points and 7 assists. Cameron Johnson was perfect from the field, making all 7 shots for 21 points, while adding 9 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals.
On the other side, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 29 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds and 3 steals (and 5 turnovers). Rookie Josh Giddey had 17 points.
The Suns started the game focused, holding the Thunder to 3 points through the first five minutes of the game, taking a 14-3 lead, and stretched the lead to 24-10 before the Thunder woke up.
The Suns led 29-17 after one and extended that lead to 32-17 at the very beginning of the second quarter. The Suns shot 50% in the first to the Thunder’s 28%, with Deandre Ayton putting up 9 points and 3 rebounds.
But the Thunder came back in the second, outscoring the Suns 31-13 the rest of the way to close the half with a shocking lead. The Suns, especially the second unit, definitely took their foot off the gas and the Thunder stepped down on their own gas when given the chance. They clawed back to begin the quarter, then finished on a 13-4 run against the Suns starters.
Thunder lead 48-45 at halftime.
- Lu Dort and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander each had 8 points in that big second quarter
- SGA had 14 at the half
- Deandre Ayton had 11 points, 5 rebounds
- Cameron Johnson had 10 points (3-3 shooting) off the bench
Second half notes
The Suns finally took the lead back at 63-62 in the third quarter on a Devin Booker layup (64-62 after the and-one) and stretched the lead through the rest of the quarter.
The Suns finished the third quarter up 82-69 on a Devin Booker step-back three as the buzzer sounded.
- Booker is up to 23 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists (15/2/2 in the 3rd quarter alone)
- Deandre Ayton has 15 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks
- Cameron Johnson has 13 points (4-4 shooting), 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals
- Suns outscored the Thunder 37-21 in the 3rd
- The Thunder are now shooting just 35% from the field, against the Suns 44.4%
The fourth quarter was just about holding the lead with the second unit and that was not a good proposition in the second quarter, was it?
Again, the Thunder pushed back after the Suns got the lead to 14, pulling inside 10 points with half a quarter left (92-83) on a Kenrich Williams 10-footer. This is basically exactly what happened in the first half, and from this point the Thunder took the halftime lead.
This time, Chris Paul and Devin Booker would not let the Suns go down. The Thunder kept making big shots (four straight threes!), but so did Paul.
The Thunder pulled to within 7 at 101-94 with their fifth three-pointer of the quarter — after making only 6 the first three quarters — but then the Suns pulled away and closed it out.
Suns play on Christmas Day against the second-best team in the league, Golden State Warriors