The Phoenix Suns, a team that theoretically can erupt at any moment, didn’t produce a whole lot of lava this afternoon in Oklahoma City, despite stirring performances by twin guards Devin Booker and Eric Bledsoe; it was just their bad luck that OKC would remember how to shoot free throws, and that Russell Westbrook’s triple-double, his 50th overall and his 13th this season, would include a career-high 22 assists. Not even Booker’s game-high 31 points, 27 of them in the second half, could save the Suns, who fell 114-101 to the Thunder and who now trail the season series 0-2.
To be fair, Phoenix wasn’t at all awful; they actually grabbed one more rebound than OKC did — 43-42 — and sixteen of those boards came off the offensive glass, a neat trick for a team that shot a fairly respectable 43 percent. But Westbrook, all by himself, beat the Suns in assists, 22-16, and the Thunder pulled off 12 steals, the Suns only five. And while Phoenix managed a pretty impressive 62 points in the second half, they were held to a mere 39 in the first. Worse yet, the Suns garnered exactly zero fast-break points.
That Westbrook line, for you completists: 26-11-22. In the continued absence of Victor Oladipo, Billy Donovan opted this time to give Anthony Morrow the start at the two; Morrow responded with an 11-point performance on only six shots. Steven Adams knocked down 19 points; he’s shooting 58 percent this season. (The Thunder overall managed 50 percent this game.)
The Atlanta Hawks will be here Monday, after which it’s on the road again, to New Orleans and to Boston, before the Thunder are back home for Christmas Day against the Minnesota Timberwolves. I’d just as soon we didn’t have a white Christmas; it’s sleety enough today.