OKC Thunder's defense breaks down in loss at Phoenix

by Darnell Mayberry Published: March 6, 2014

photo - Oklahoma City Thunder guard Derek Fisher (6) is backed down by Phoenix Suns' Gerald Green (14) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, March 6, 2014, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Derek Fisher (6) is backed down by Phoenix Suns' Gerald Green (14) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, March 6, 2014, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX — The problem Thursday night wasn’t that the Thunder got sucker punched in some sort of trap game.

The problem was that OKC got sucked into a track meet.

Phoenix imposed its will on the Thunder for the final 15 minutes, turning the contest into a shootout before putting a bow on a 128-122 come-from-behind win inside US Airways Center.

The Suns’ point total was the most the Thunder has allowed this season.

Gerald Green, the former Oklahoma State signee, paced all players with a career-high 41 points. He ignited the Suns by splashing in 25 points in a 40-point third quarter by Phoenix. Green hit six of his eight 3-pointers in the period, the last three of which came in the quarter’s final three minutes as he helped the Suns storm back from a 16-point deficit with 3:47 left in the frame.

“They got hot,” said Kevin Durant, who scored 34 points for the Thunder.

Green was on fire.

“He had an amazing game,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “He’s having an amazing year. He’s very athletic. Give him and their coaching staff a lot of credit. He has really taken his game to another level. He’s a knockdown 3-point shooter. We couldn’t control him, and we have to do a better job with that.”

Led by Green, the Suns made 15 of 27 3-pointers. Eight of those came in a second half in which the Suns produced 67 points and sent another reminder to the Thunder that its team defense is currently nowhere close to championship level.

The Suns shot 52.5 percent from the field and attempted 39 free throws, more evidence in a night filled with plenty that there is much work to be done.

“We’ve been talking about it for about 10 days now,” Brooks said. “You’ve got to get back to a defensive disposition when we play these teams who are small and fast and quick. We have to do a better job communicating in transition. We got lost, and we got beat off the dribble too many times.”

The disappointing defensive effort overshadowed an outstanding offensive night, captained once again by Russell Westbrook, who was sensational for the fourth straight game.

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by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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