By Anthony Slater – Aslater@opubco.com - @anthonyVslater
For the fourth straight game, Oklahoma City rolled to an easy win, beating 97-69 in Phoenix on Sunday night. Here’s some rapid reaction:
It was over when…
…The Thunder caught its flight to Phoenix. Because, with the current direction these two differing franchises are heading, it felt like OKC only needed to show up to guarantee victory. This was basically a continuation of Friday night’s drubbing, with the Thunder looking sharp and confident on both ends, while the Suns looking helpless and flustered in their attempt to stop it.
Star of the game – Russell Westbrook
Russell Westbrook had more steals, assists and only two fewer points than the Suns entire starting lineup on Sunday night. And he didn’t even play a second in the fourth quarter. Tells you what kind of night it was for Phoenix’s struggling starters (26 points on 11/39 shooting) and the Thunder’s star guard (who dominated play early and earned a comfortable seat on the sidelines late). His final line: 24 points, 6 assists, 4 steals and a +24 in 28 efficient minutes.
Unsung hero – Thabo Sefolosha
No better cure for a struggling shot than back-to-back games against some lazy defense. Sefolosha went 9/13 from deep the past two nights against Phoenix, making more triples than he had in the previous seven games combined. That included a career-high five on Sunday night, headlining an impressive box score for the Thunder’s underrated two-guard: 20 points, 3 assists, 3 steals and a +38 in 34 minutes. Not sure I’ve seen a plus/minus that high.
Westbrook and Durant haven’t played a fourth quarter minute in the past four games, all blowouts by more than 21 points.
Stats of note
-Russell Westbrook shot 8/15. OKC is now 14-2 when he shoots 50 percent or better.
-The Thunder has won 10 consecutive games against Phoenix, their longest streak over any team in the NBA.
-Kevin Durant had 18 points in 29 minutes. It’s the second time this month he’s scored less than 20 after not doing it once in 16 January games.
-The Thunder has outscored opponents 455-354 during this current four-game winning streak.
Well-executed fastbreak complete with a smooth alley-oop
The Thunder has two tough games before the All-Star break, going to Utah (always a tough place to win) on Tuesday night before an NBA Finals rematch against Miami on Thursday in OKC.