The Phoenix Suns fell to the reigning western conference champion Thunder in an exhitbion match-up on Friday night 97-107. Head coach Alvin Gentry didn’t play his starters much during the course of the game. The starting line-up of Goran Dragic, Jared Dudley, Michael Beasley, Luis Scola, and Marcin Gortat began the game however after the 1st quarter the only starter that saw any action at all rest of the game was Beasley.
The Suns played well defensively in the 1st quarter but trailed 18-24 after giving up 11 offensive rebounds to the Thunder in the 1st quarter alone. The reigning 3-time NBA scoring champion Kevin Durant scored 22 points in 28 minutes and his counterpart Russell Westbrook added 18 points and 12 assists. Gentry certainly threw his young players in the fire tonight, pitting the Suns bench guys against the Thunder’s starting core for most of the night.
Heading into the second half the Suns trailed the Thunder 45-46 and after tying the game up with the score at 60-60 with 6:38 left in the 3rd quarter, Westbrook began to take over. Westbrook scoring 9 points and dishing out 3 assist and catapulted the Thunder to an 82-72 lead with 29.6 seconds left in the 3rd quarter.
The Phoenix Suns may not have gotten a victory on paper on Friday but they should definitely feel good about themselves. The Suns bench stepped up big time holding their own against the Thunder’s dynamic duo of Westbrook and Durant, both of whom played about 28 minutes each.
The Suns were led again offensively by Wesley Johnson who scored 15 points on the
night including 3 3-pointers. Solomon Jones also had a solid outing, nabbing a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds in only 17 minutes of play. P.J Tucker also had great impact on the game scoring 11 points and getting 5 rebounds; most importantly playing with hustle and energy to keep Thunder players from dominating the boards.
The Suns made a run at the Thunder in the 4th quarter after trailing 84-75 with 11:28 left in the 4th quarter after a Nick Collison jumper. Ike Diogu scored 5 straight points, including an and-one bucket which cut the lead to 80-86.
At the 8:29 mark Diante Garret made a 3-point for the Suns to make the score 85-88 but the Thunder went on a 12-3 run and left the Suns trailing 87-100 with 4:13 left in the game; the Thunder were pretty much on cruise control from that point on.
The Suns fared pretty well on Friday night, shooting a solid 49% from the field, 50% from the 3-point line and 82% from the foul line, but the Thunder’s excellent 3-point shooting(9-20) and great ball movement ultimately held off the Suns.
The Suns are now 2-2 in their 2012 preseason as are the Thunder. The Suns will fly back home to Phoenix and will host their open practice on Saturday morning. The Suns await a rematch against the Sacramento Kings on Monday night at the U.S Airways center.