The Suns persist in rising

This game can be summed up in a single Telltale Statistic: with 3:47 left in the third quarter, the Thunder were up 96-80. When the horn sounded to end the quarter, Phoenix was leading 101-98.

But what else could you expect? The Suns are not even slightly comfortable in 8th place in the West, with the Grizzlies on their heels and twenty games to play: they’ve got to go full tilt, full time. Two and a half minutes later, the Suns had opened up a seven-point lead; Russell Westbrook, who’d already done 20 minutes and scored 23 points, was called back in and basically took over the joint. Three minutes later, it was tied and Westbrook had 36. But nothing was going to stop the Suns on a night when Gerald Green had a career-high 41 points, when Goran Dragić knocked down six points in a minute and a half, when the Morris brothers combined for 39 of 41 Phoenix bench points. The final was 128-122, and hey, how often do you get to see 250 points scored in a 48-minute game?

The Suns were proficient with the long ball, sinking 15 of 27 — Green made eight of 13 himself — and outrebounded the Thunder 44-33. And you have to do things like that when the Thunder shoot 50 percent and don’t miss a free throw all night.

Both Westbrook and Kevin Durant put up three-pointers on that last OKC possession; neither of them connected. Durant finished the night with 34. And Westbrook came awfully close to another triple-double (36 points, nine rebounds, nine assists.) But this is basketball, not horseshoes or grenades, so “awfully close” might as well have been out in the farging desert somewhere. We did get to see more of Caron Butler, who played 29 minutes and led the bench with 14, including four of eight treys. (The Thunder were 13-33 from Way Out There.) Reggie Williams, called up on a 10-day from Tulsa, drew a DNP-CD, but perhaps that was to be expected.

There are the Lakers to be disposed of Sunday, and then a visit from the reliably scary Houston Rockets on Tuesday.

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