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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 Modified: December 31, 2012 at 10:40 pm •  Published: January 1, 2013
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/articleid/3742288/1/pictures/1919119">Photo - Oklahoma City Thunder's Russell Westbrook (0) passes around Phoenix Suns' Sebastian Telfair (31) as the Oklahoma City Thunder play the Phoenix Suns in NBA basketball at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, on Monday, Dec. 31, 2012.  Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City Thunder's Russell Westbrook (0) passes around Phoenix Suns' Sebastian Telfair (31) as the Oklahoma City Thunder play the Phoenix Suns in NBA basketball at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, on Monday, Dec. 31, 2012. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman

The Thunder benefited from its best ball security of the season, finishing with a season-low five turnovers. The team’s previous low was 10, set at Detroit on Nov. 12. Phoenix, which can be a pest in transition, scored just four points off the Thunder’s giveaways. OKC, on the other hand, scored 17 points off 15 Suns turnovers.

But the Suns refused to get run out of town.

After the Thunder built a 14-point lead, threatening to blow the game open with 3:56 left to play in the third, the Suns went on a 20-8 spurt over the next seven minutes to pull within two.

An unlikely spark emerged and ignited the Thunder in the final quarter. It was Nick Collison. The reserve forward scored back-to-back buckets that kept the Suns at bay. He then secured a pivotal offensive rebound for a second-chance opportunity that ended in a Sefolosha 3-pointer. And just before exiting the game, Collison drew a charge on Markieff Morris with 6:20 remaining. Durant made a pair of free throws at the other end to put the Thunder ahead by nine with 6:09 left to play.

Collison finished with 10 points and nine rebounds in 20 minutes.

The Thunder went on a 12-4 run from there and led by as many as 20.


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