Oklahoma City Thunder: Kevin Durant scores 38 points, but OKC can't stop Suns

Kevin Durant scored 38 points, his 41st consecutive game of 25 or more, but it wasn’t enough as the Phoenix Suns beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 122-115 Sunday night behind 26 points from Goran Dragic and 24 from Gerald Green.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: April 6, 2014
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photo - Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) drives between Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic, right, of Slovenia, and Markieff Morris during the first half of an NBA basketball game on Sunday, April 6, 2014,in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) drives between Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic, right, of Slovenia, and Markieff Morris during the first half of an NBA basketball game on Sunday, April 6, 2014,in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

— Scott Brooks was asked before Sunday’s game whether he’s seen significant improvement in the Thunder’s defense since the last time his team visited Phoenix.

“Yeah,” Brooks said, “we definitely have improved defensively.”

Couldn’t tell by the way the Thunder again got torched by the Suns and fell for the second time this season inside US Airways center, this time 122-115.

At a time when the Thunder is supposed to be fine-tuning for the playoffs, Oklahoma City still can’t seem to figure out how to be sharp defensively. Opposing guards are still slicing through the lane and opposing shooters are still left alone far too frequently.

Suns forward P.J. Tucker became the latest bit player to burn the Thunder, scoring 11 of his career-high 22 points in the fourth quarter. He made seven of nine shots, including four of five 3-point attempts. All four of Tucker’s 3s came from the corner, where Kevin Durant continuously got caught sagging off too far and closing out too slow.

The Suns sprayed in 11 of 23 3-pointers.

“We gave up too many open 3s in the corner,” Brooks said. “That’s a 40 percent shot, so we don’t want to come off on the corner. They roll hard. They penetrate so they get you in a position where you have to make sure you are stopping the ball first. And we didn’t get out to their shooters. But those are all correctable things, things that we’ve done well all year. We just had some bad moments tonight.”

Gerald Green, who erupted for a career-high 41 points in the Thunder’s last trip to the desert, finished with 24 points. He poured in 11 in the third quarter, nine of them coming on 3s.

When it wasn’t Tucker or Green taking it to the Thunder, it was Goran Dragic, the crafty point guard who gave Phoenix three 20-point scorers. He added a team-high 26 points, with 19 of them coming in a first half in which the Suns scored 62 points on 58.7 percent shooting.


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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