PHOENIX — It had been a month since the Thunder had notched a statement win.
That streak is over. Add the Phoenix Suns to the list of big road wins by the NBA’s second youngest team.
Oklahoma City once again saw a double-digit, first-half lead evaporate but made more big plays down the stretch to post a 117-113 win Wednesday night at US Airways Center.
"To beat the best teams in the league, you have to bring you’re A game against teams that are competing for championships,” said Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks. "You don’t necessarily have to play a flawless game, but you have to play near flawless down the stretch, especially on the road.”
This time, the Thunder came up big late. On the road.
Kevin Durant’s old-fashioned 3-point play put the Thunder up 111-110 with 1:47 remaining, a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Jeff Green’s tip-in pushed the lead to 113-110.
Perhaps the biggest play was James Harden getting an offensive rebound off a Durant missed shot in the waning seconds. It gave OKC an extra possession. Durant, scoring a game-high 38 points, took advantage with a 20-foot dagger with 14.4 seconds left that gave OKC a 115-111 cushion.
The Thunder led by as many as 15 points in the first half, but the high-scoring Suns cut the deficit to 66-64 by halftime. The teams then traded the lead eight times before OKC took control late.
Similar to recent games against Cleveland, Dallas and the Los Angeles Lakers the past two weeks, the Thunder played toe to toe with a league powerhouse.
The Thunder owns wins over playoff quality caliber teams — Orlando at home and road wins against San Antonio, Utah and Miami.
But the past month Oklahoma City was 0-8 against Boston, Cleveland, Denver, Dallas, Phoenix, the Lakers (twice) and Houston (two losses).
Wednesday's box score