Oklahoma City’s forte has been defense, but the inability to get defensive stops the final four minutes was a key reason a nine-game winning streak ended. Phoenix hit five of its final six shots to overcome a 98-88 deficit to win. The Suns shot 51.3 percent. "Our defense has not been great the past three games,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. "Our offense has really carried our defense. That’s rare. We haven’t done that most of this year. We’ve got to get back to defending.”
MISSED OPPORTUNITIESThe Thunder had several chances to supply a knockout punch after overcoming a 15-point deficit to lead by 10 points. Eric Maynor and James Harden missed 3-pointers that would have kept OKC’s lead at double digits. Jeff Green missed a put-back layup with 1:26 to play. Kevin Durant missed his final three shots. "We had some great looks,” Brooks said. "We missed a layup and two 3’s. They would have had a tough time coming back from that. But that’s basketball. I’m not down at all. I like the way our guys battle every night.”
SCOUTING SAN ANTONIOTonight, the Spurs will be playing their first home game since Jan. 31 after completing their annual rodeo road trip, eight road games sandwiched around the All-Star break. San Antonio has been inconsistent all season, but super sub Manu Ginobili finally has gotten hot, averaging 17.3 points the last month (14 games). Tim Duncan (19.1 points, 11.0 rebounds) has played well all season. The Spurs’ problem? Off-season addition Richard Jefferson has averaged only 12.0 points after averaging 21.2 the past two seasons with New Jersey and Milwaukee. Tony Parker, who has missed nine games, is questionable tonight after sitting out Sunday’s game at Detroit with a strained hip flexor.
NASH STAYS IN PHOENIXFrequent flyer miles is the reason Suns two-time MVP Steve Nash stayed in Phoenix, skipping Tuesday night’s game in the Ford Center. Nash, 36, sometimes battles a back injury that has been getting progressively worse the past two weeks due to frequent trips. The Suns had a four-game road trip before the All-Star break to Houston, New Orleans, Denver and Sacramento. Nash flew to Vancouver for the torch ceremony for the Winter Olympics, flew to Dallas for All-Star weekend, returned to Phoenix and also has taken road trips to Memphis and Dallas after the All-Star break. "If it were the playoffs, he’d have played,” said Suns coach Alvin Gentry. "We have to look at it long-term. That’s what we were concerned with, the flying more than the actual injury.” Gentry said Nash will play tonight when Phoenix hosts Philadelphia.
FAST BREAK…The Thunder lost for only the third time all season when scoring points, falling to 23-3. ... With two more charges in Tuesday’s game, Nick Collison moved up to second in the league for taking charging fouls (42). Jared Jeffries (44) leads the league... Former OU star Taylor Griffin requested around 25 tickets for Tuesday’s game, including his parents, who were shown during the Kiss Cam segment. ... Antonio Anderson, signed to a 10-day contract, was inactive and dressed in street clothes.