Brooks said the reason he gave his team Tuesday off had nothing to do with what transpired in the second half against the Los Angeles Clippers the night before.
OKC was outscored 49-25 after intermission in a 92-77 loss to the Clippers, but the Thunder was given a chance to rest because it had played three games in a span of four days
“That's the main thing,” Brooks explained. “If we had won Monday, we would have had the day off. With the loss, we would have had the day off anyway.”
Game 4 of the Thunder's five-game road trip is Friday at 9 p.m. in Sacramento. Game 5 is Sunday in Los Angeles against the Lakers at 2:30 p.m. OKC then returns home for the final two games of the season against Sacramento on Tuesday and Denver on Wednesday.
Durant attended Tuesday night's Arizona Diamondbacks game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Chase Field. During his rookie season, Durant threw out the first pitch at a Seattle Mariners game. When asked if he threw a strike, Durant smiled and shook his head no. “It was more like a Hail Mary. I just wanted to make sure I got it to the plate, man.”
With 3:07 left in the third quarter, Phoenix point guard Steve Nash argued a call with official John Goble, who pleaded with Nash to stop arguing. When Nash kept going, Coble slapped Nash with a technical foul, which infuriated Gentry, who soon was slapped with a technical himself.
Durant and Harden made two free throws each to give the Thunder a 73-67 lead.
Durant lost track of the score and asked the scoreboard operator for one more point. When Durant later realized his mistake, he smiled and said, “Sorry, that's my bad,” drawing laughter from the entire stat crew.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Thunder center Kendrick Perkins and Phoenix center Robin Lopez were slapped with technicals for jawing and refusing to unlock arms while running down court. It was Perkins' 12th technical of the season. One more will draw a one-game suspension.
The Suns once again were without veteran forward Grant Hill, who missed his 11th game in the last 13 starts with a knee injury. Hill has a history of defending Durant well.
“Obviously, we miss him because he's our best defender,” Gentry said. “We've got find a way to get it done. I'm not going to be a guy to stick him out there unless I'm sure (he's healthy).”
Gentry has coached Hill nine seasons in the NBA and has known Hill since the 11th grade when he was being recruited to Kansas, where Gentry served as an assistant under coach Larry Brown.
“He was at our Final Four in Kansas City that we won … in '88 … against Oklahoma,” Gentry said with a smile.Wednesday's Thunder-Suns box score