In the second quarter of the Thunder's 114-96 victory over Phoenix on Monday night, Suns forward Luis Scola inadvertently elbowed OKC All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook above the right eye.
A bloodied Westbrook remained underneath the Thunder's basket and went to the locker room at the next stoppage of play with 1:13 remaining.
Second-year guard Reggie Jackson started the second half in place of Westbrook and the Thunder opened the third quarter with a 12-0 run to take a 66-53 lead.
Jackson finished with six points (3 for 3 from the field), six assists and four rebounds in 15 minutes.
Westbrook received stitches and did not emerge from the locker room until the 7:05 mark of the third quarter. He immediately went to the scorer's table and checked in at 6:24 with OKC ahead 68-59.
Westbrook has not missed a game in his NBA career (342 games), the league's longest active streak. He finished with 24 points, nine assists, seven rebounds and just one turnover in 33 minutes.
HOME SWEET HOME
With Monday's victory over Phoenix, the Thunder has now won 12 straight at home and is 16-2 (. 889) this season at The Peake.
Only Denver at 9-1 (. 900) has a higher winning percentage at home. On Tuesday night the Nuggets host the Los Angeles Clippers (25-6), who are riding a 17-game winning streak.
This was the second straight year the Thunder defeated the Suns on New Year's Eve.
OKC is 5-0 on Dec. 31 games with previous victories coming against Golden State in 2008, Utah in 2009 and Atlanta in 2010.
The Thunder committed a season-low five turnovers Monday. The previous season low was 10. OKC came in averaging 16.0 turnovers per game (29th in NBA). … Monday was the 64th consecutive home sellout in the regular season for the Thunder and the 83rd straight sellout including the postseason. … OKC outscored the Suns 50-34 in the paint and 15-6 in fast-break points. The teams tied 16-16 in second-chance points. … The Thunder plays Brooklyn next on Wednesday. The Nets were outscored 30-5 in the third quarter of a 104-73 loss at San Antonio on Monday.
Three-time scoring champ Kevin Durant on how Thunder teammates playfully kid with each other in the locker room: “Man, we joke about everything on this team. I came in here with all my (Washington) Redskins gear on (Monday morning). Perk and Russell were talking so much trash on me. We joke about everything — clothes, missed layups, missed dunks, all that stuff.”