Suns Light Up Thunder Again
By Randy Renner
The Oklahoma City Thunder knew what was coming, knew exactly how the Phoenix Suns would attack them because they'd seen it up close before and still they were helpless to stop it.
For the second time in a month the Suns burned Oklahoma City with hot shooting, hitting almost 60 percent of their shots overall and almost 50 percent of their 3-pointers.
"We gave up too many open 3s in the corner," Thunder head coach Scott Brooks told reporters after the game. "That's a 40 percent shot so we don't wanna come off the corner."
The problem last night wasn't so much that the Thunder were coming off the corner, most of the time they weren't getting there.
"They (the Suns) roll hard, they penetrate so they get you in a position where you have to make sure you're stopping the ball first and then we didn't get out to their shooters," Brooks said.
The concerning thing about that is the Thunder knew all that going in. Not only had they seen it on film , they had lived it a month ago.
Brooks went on to say, "Those things are all correctable, things we've done well all year. We just had some bad moments tonight."
Apparently they're not correctable against the Suns because it's happened twice now in a month and Phoenix just might be the team OKC sees in the first round of the playoffs.
If not the Suns then the Dallas Mavericks might be that foe and guess what? The Thunder have lost to them twice in the last month too because of similar sins, not closing out on shooters.
Speaking of similar sins, Friday night the Thunder got caught up in a 3-point shooting contest with the Houston Rockets (bad idea) and last night they were firing up 3-balls like they were going outta style.
One thing they weren't doing was going in the baskets. The Thunder jacked up 32 threes last night and made just nine.
"Too many threes, no question," admitted Brooks.
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combined to take 24 threes and made just six.
"That's not a normal game for us when those two guys shoot that many threes," Brooks added.
"Yeah I shot 15 of them," Durant said after the game, "and I felt like every one of them was good, they just bounced out, but that's how the dice rolled."
Snake-eyes is how the dice ended up for the Thunder and now they can forget about the top seed in the Western Conference playoffs and start worrying about holding on the number two spot.
The Thunder are now just a skinny stick man up on the LA Clippers in the standings but two up in the all important loss column. So that game in LaLa Land Wednesday night could very well have second place on the line.
One good thing that happened last night Durant passed Michael Jordan with his 41st straight game with at least 25 points. That's now the longest streak in the last 50 years and KD sounds like he's ready to be done with it.
"I wish it was over," is what he said.
Now that he's passed Jordan maybe he can go back to just playing his game because it has sure seemed like these last three games or so he's been pressing to get to that 25 magic number.
The Thunder now get ready for their last (finally) back-to-back set of the season, in Sacramento Tuesday night and in Los Angeles Wednesday night.
The Thunder will likely rest both Westbrook and Kendrick Perkins against the Kings and then have all hands (maybe even Thabo Sefolosha) on deck for that Wednesday rumble in Clipperland.