George, Adams Lead Thunder To Eighth in Nine Tries Over Suns
By: Addam Francisco, Senior Writer.
The Thunder clearly didn't ponder on the loss in Dallas on Saturday that put their win streak in the past. It was either that or the fact that they were playing the (2-10) Phoenix Suns, a team that everyone seems to recover from a previous loss with. Oklahoma City continued that trend, by defeating the Suns handily, 118-101.
Early on, the Thunder used their biggest weapon, literally, in Steven Adams, who exposed Phoenix's rookie center DeAndre Ayton for the inexperienced rookie he is. Adams tallied 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting in the opening quarter and held Ayton to four empty shot attempts. More importantly, the Thunder, who hold the second-highest defensive rating in the NBA, held the Suns to 27.3 percent shooting as a team.
The Suns came out inspired to start the second quarter. OKC seemed to let their foot off the gas, obviously feeling comfortable with their 20-plus point lead. However, thanks to Paul George's offensive explosion where he rattled off three 3-pointers in the final half of the quarter, the Thunder went into the half with a comfortable 24-point lead.
Ghosts from past third quarters came back to haunt OKC. For an unknown reason, they stopped feeding Adams after the first half, even when things were working. After his seven shot attempts in the first quarter, he only attempted three in the subsequent two. Along with a lacking defense, the Suns outscored OKC 35-22 in the third, trimming a 24-point halftime lead to 11.
This continued into the fourth quarter until Adams re-entered the game, where he immediately asserted himself in the paint, scoring two quick buckets and forcing the Suns to pack the lane, which meant easier mid-range shots. That resulted in OKC regaining their offensive confidence and expanding the lead late in the game, solidifying their eighth win in nine games.
Oklahoma City improves to (8-5) on the season and (8-1) over the last nine games. Paul George was tonight's high scorer with 32 points and 8 rebounds on a season-high six threes. Dennis Schröder followed with an impressive second half, scoring 16 of his 20 points and adding 9 assists and only 1 turnover. Steven Adams, despite his limited touches over two quarters, finished with 18 points on 9-of-13 shooting.
The Thunder will play the (4-10) New York Knicks on Wednesday night at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.