The Paycom Center was the scene of a big battle last night between OKC and Phoenix. After a fiery first quarter (27-27), Phoenix managed to break away through the inevitable Paul-Durant duo, well helped by the 2+1 of Torrey Craig and Bismack Biyombo in order to get closer ten points difference (39-48).
Devin Booker emerged in turn with a 3-pointer and a basket with the fault to offer the Suns the biggest gap of the match shortly before the break (53-69). At -16, the Thunder, which had not been unworthy until then, could then measure the path it still had to accomplish to get closer to the best teams in the league.
However, Mark Daigneault’s troops have never given up, on the contrary! Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey led the revolt from the start of the third quarter by feeding a 12-4 to return to -6 (67-73). The locals did not stop there, returning for the first time to -5 following 6 points from SGA then a 3-point from Luguentz Dort, well served by Josh Giddey (80-85).
Then at the start of the fourth quarter, it was Aaron Wiggins who put the pressure back on with 9 points in a row to make Phoenix still tremble (100-104). While the Thunder defense seemed able to push the Suns to the feat to succeed in scoring, it was Kevin Durant who saved his team by blowing up Oklahoma City with two 3-point missiles, on services of Chris Paul (106-112).
Deandre Ayton then managed to score on three important possessions, and the noose began to loosen little by little. Two new 3-point baskets signed Chris Paul and Kevin Durant definitely got the better of Oklahoma City’s ambitions, beaten with honors 128-118 and therefore still in danger in the race for the Top 10.
WHAT YOU MUST REMEMBER
– Revenge of Kevin Durant. Just over three weeks ago, KD sprained his ankle just before facing OKC. Ten days later, the Thunder made Phoenix bite the dust by winning 124-120. For this third confrontation in less than a month, Kevin Durant therefore put the points back on the i’s by releasing a high-level performance to overcome Oklahoma City. A good outlet!
– Oklahoma City remains under threat from Dallas. Despite this loss, the Thunder remain in 10th place in the West thanks to the new defeat of the Mavericks. With the “tiebreaker”, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and his troupe are still two wins ahead of that of Luka Doncic, three games from the end of the season.
✅ Kevin Durant. An MVP match on his part… The Thunder defenders took turns and tried everything without really managing to stop him. Two 3-point shots late in the game to complete the opposing hopes.
✅ Devin Booker. Author of 46 points during the previous confrontation (lost) between the two teams, the rear was this time in another register, more as a finisher in scoring and especially as a passer with 10 offerings, equaling his record for the season.
✅ ChrisPaul. For his impeccable late-game handling when Phoenix was under heavy pressure. A classic on his part that we must still take the time to highlight.
✅ Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. SGA continues its series of games with 20 points and more and success in free throws with a new perfect at 17/17. Not much to blame him for even if there was no victory at the end.
⛔ Luguentz Dort. It’s hard to say if his clumsiness in attack is the result of his investment in defense, but the fact remains that his 4/14 is a bit of a stain.
Oklahoma City (38-41) : the Thunder will be expected at the Chase Center this Tuesday to challenge the Warriors (04:00).
Phoenix (43-35) : the Suns will host San Antonio on Tuesday (04:00).
How to read the stats? Min = Minutes; Shots = Shots made / Shots attempted; 3pts = 3-points / 3-points attempted; LF = free throws made / free throws attempted; O = offensive rebound; D= defensive rebound; T = Total Bounces; Pd = assists; Fte: Personal fouls; Int = Intercepts; Bp = Lost bullets; Ct: Counters; +/- = Point differential when the player is on the field; Points = Points; Eval: player evaluation calculated from positive actions – negative actions.