Oklahoma City Thunder: Thunder outlasts Phoenix Suns

Though it took longer than expected, Oklahoma City ultimately took care of business, outlasting the Suns for a 114-96 win in the league's final game on the final day of 2012.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: December 31, 2012
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Long before tip off, the Thunder knew full well what type of test was on deck Monday night.

The struggling Phoenix Suns were in town and in search of a signature win.

“If they win in our building that kind of turns around their season,” Kevin Durant said at the team's morning shootaround. “So we got to make sure that doesn't happen.”

Though it took longer than expected, Oklahoma City ultimately took care of business, outlasting the Suns for a 114-96 win in the league's final game on the final day of 2012.

The win, the Thunder's fifth straight on New Year's Eve, moved the Thunder to 24-6.

It was a closer contest than anticipated considering the Suns, with an 11-20 record, came in as the second worst team in the Western Conference. Phoenix also has been horrid all year on the road. Monday's loss, the Suns' sixth straight, dropped Phoenix to 2-14 in opposing buildings.

Kevin Durant led all players with 30 points, Serge Ibaka scored 16 with seven rebounds and Thabo Sefolosha added 14 points.

The Thunder got a major scare in the final two minutes of the second quarter when Russell Westbrook had to leave the game after Suns forward Luis Scola inadvertently elbowed him in the face. Westbrook was immediately taken to the locker room and received an undisclosed number of stitches before returning to the game midway through the third quarter. He finished with 24 points, seven rebounds and nine assists while playing with a small bandage above his right eye.

Surprisingly, OKC pulled away while Westbrook was in the locker room. With reserve guard Reggie Jackson starting the third period in place of Westbrook, the Thunder scored 12 unanswered points to build a 13-point lead after leading just 54-53 at halftime.

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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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