The Suns started the game, shall we say, flat. Nine missed shots, four turnovers and five fouls in the first 6:30. Wow.
That was a harbringer to the rest of the game against the West's second-best team.
The Suns came back with a solid run to pull within one before OKC fought back to restore the lead to 8 with 3:25 left in the first quarter.
Russell Westbrook came out to avenge the only thing that went wrong in the Thunder's 31-point blowout on Friday night by frustrating Dragic and scoring his own 9 points along with 3 assists in the first. Dragic gave up two early fouls and turned the ball over three times, to go along with 6 points and 1 assist in the "duel". Dragic is a very good player, but just isn't the guy to carry your team every minute.
The quarter ends on a terrible note, with the Thunder scoring the last 8 points to stretch the lead to 27-16 on two 3s by a wide, wide open Thabo Sefolosha sandwiching a short hook by Nick Collison. Surgical precision on those three possessions by OKC.
It got so bad at one point, the Suns appeared to be trying to match their season record (17-32) on the scoreboard. Hunter called a timeout after Sefolosha's 3rd wide open 3-pointer in a matter of minutes with the Suns down 16-30. Could it be he was drawing up a play to get free throws?
After that, the Suns woke up a bit (or, the Thunder went to sleep) and the Suns pulled to within 32-35 (a 16-5 run for the math challenged) before OKC got another open 3 by Sefolosha, a
charge was called on Westbrook foul on O'Neal and a sneaky steal by Westbrook on an outlet pass. Boom. 10 points again before the starters could even come back in.
At the halftime buzzer the OKC Thunder hit their second consecutive end-of-quarter 3. Westbrook tried to taunt Dragic after making the 27-foot shot in his face but Dragic refused to be taunted, just walking purposefully away. Westbrook was forced to look for congrats from his team instead as the Thunder enjoyed a 51-34 halftime lead. OKS closed the half on a 16-2 run after the Suns had cut the lead to 3.
In the first half, the Suns looked completely dominated in all areas.
Yet, they outscored the Thunder 22-14 in the paint. Let's start with the Suns. The Suns had 29 shots on goal IN THE PAINT in the first half alone (14 of them offensive rebounds). The Suns made 11 field goals in the paint, while the Thunder blocked 6 shots and committed ZERO fouls on the Suns 18 misses. That's 22 points on 29 attempts in the paint.
The Thunder, on the other hand, had 12 shots on goal IN THE PAINT in the first half (3 of those on offensive rebounds). They made 7 first-chance field goals (on 9 attempts), got three offensive rebounds on their two misses and scored another two of their points there (on free throws). That's 16 points on 12 attempts in the paint.
I'm not sayin'. I'm just sayin'.
The second half started out poorly for the Suns, giving up 4 quick points. Hunter replaced Jared Dudley with Kendall Marshall, going with the two-PG lineup that we have seen lately. Marshall had 3 points and 2 assists in the first half to earn the second-half burn.
Soon after that, O'Neal joined Gortat on the floor to make it 2 PGs and 2 Cs along with Tucker (then Beasley). Beasley was greeted to a lot of boos after shooting (and I mean shooting) 2-10 in the first half. No other Suns player had more than 4 attempts by the time Beasley had reached 10.
But this game was over.
The Suns did not come out to win in the second half, playing very tentative while the Thunder just took care of business. It was as if the Suns were playing a preseason game. Sure this is the 38-12 Thunder who are on a roll of 4 consecutive 20+ point blowouts (two of those NOT against the Suns, suprisingly).
When Shannon Brown finally came to spell Dragic at the 2 minute mark of the third, he promptly dribbled out the clock on a "dribble tantrum" that ended in a 25-foot double-teamed fallaway.
By this time, Suns fans could be heard regularly expressing their displeasure at the Suns' effort.
At the end of the third, the Suns had tallied only 48 points. Their franchise low is 68, set in 1981 against Kansas City, who moved to Sacramento, who are now (probably) moving to Seattle.
That meant the Suns needed 20 fourth-quarter points just to TIE their worst offensive output in 30 years.
The Suns appear to have no plan on offense, and their defense unravels against the best offensive team in the NBA.
This truly may be the Suns lowest point this season.
Can't wait to hear what they have to say in the locker room.