The Suns came out tight, but eventually loosened up thanks to Gerald Green's career high 41 and Goran Dragic and Markieff Morris' dagger scores at the end to ice it.

The Oklahoma City Thunder got up big, but the Suns came roaring back to win a thriller over their rivals. Gerald Green had a career high 41 points and Goran Dragic scored 6 of the Suns 8 deciding points to take their final lead.


The Oklahoma City Thunder jumped out and punched the Suns first, getting up to an 18-8 lead before the Suns could right their ship.

That 10-point lead proved to be the difference as the Thunder and Suns played even for the next two quarters until Gerald Green's unconscious shooting put the Suns right back into the game.

The Thunder built a 16-point lead (96-80) before the Suns started coming back with a vengeance. Gerald Green did, that is. The Suns went on a 28-5 run to take a 7-point lead (108-101) with 9:33 to go. The crowd was ELECTRIC.

Then Russell Westbrook came back in. The Suns had to work hard to keep the lead, with the Thunder back to scoring nearly every time down.

At the 5:42 mark with a 4-point lead, every second felt like it was taking a minute to pass.

For while, it looked dicey as OKC took the lead back. Russell Westbrook couldn't miss a shot of his own. He made three 3s in the fourth alone to help bring the Thunder back, scoring 36 points on the night.

But the Suns would not be denied, and Goran Dragic got the Suns back into the lead with 4 straight points at the rim. The a Morris-Morris oop. Then a Dragic midrange dagger.

Holy s$^$t!

And TNT didn't want this game.


First half notes

The Suns came out like lambs, while the Oklahoma City Thunder came out like lions.

Russell Westbrook started the game with two steals running right into fast break slams, and finished a teammate's steal with an FB dunk as well. He was bouncing and flexing all over the court like he couldn't stay in his own skin.

The Thunder as a team played right up on the Suns, and the team did not respond, allowing the Thunder to take an 18-8 lead on an 8-0 run after the Suns had pulled to 10-8.

The Thunder kept laying it on, even with their backups in the game with Kevin Durant who just deferred to teammates the whole first quarter. It's embarrassing to lose big to the Thunder. It's embarrassing-er when Durant doesn't even have to score in the process.

First quarter Thunder points: 41. League leading scorer Kevin Durant: 5.

Thunder 41. Suns 32.

Scoring slowed down in the second quarter with the teams' best scorers on the bench as the Suns tried to whittle down the Thunder lead bit by bit.

The Suns momentarily cut the lead to 5, but then Thunder pulled back out to 10 as soon as Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook returned to the game.

The Suns tried to stay close but let the Thunder get out on fast break after fast break. They only average 15.7 fast break points per game on the season, but blew the Suns up with 21 before halftime.

Yet the Suns stayed strong, kept fighting, and somehow pulled within 4 at halftime - 65 - 61 Thunder.

In the third, the Thunder tried to shoot the Suns out of the gym, but the Suns shot back (actually, Gerald Green shot back). But the Thunder wouldn't give in, and got lots of favorable foul calls on the Suns who came out playing with fire (if not smarts) on the defensive end.

PHOENIX — Guard Eric Bledsoe will return to the court in one of the three games following the Phoenix Suns’ Thursday night meeting with the Oklahoma City Thunder, reports the Arizona...

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Time: 7 p.m. MST TV: FSAZ The Phoenix Suns should be offended by tonight’s TV schedule. The TNT doubleheader starts off with a rematch of last year’s Finals between the Heat and the Spurs. That’s a...

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Technically, this is a playoff preview of what the first round 1-Seed and 8-Seed might look like in a month...

It has been a long time (not really, but it just feels that way) since the Phoenix Suns (35-25) had a quality MVP Candidate in a game with playoff relevance against another MVP Candidate. Sure, Kevin Durant is one of two candidates playing in Division I while Goran Dragic and a few others are playing in Division III, but regardless -- they are both playing for the same thing.

The Oklahoma City Thunder (46-15) have the NBA's best record and have been playing very good basketball as of late after dropping three games in a row during a rough stretch.

For the Suns, they are in their rough stretch. A loss to the Clippers the other night is followed by a game against the Thunder and this will be followed by two more rough games against the Warriors and the Clippers in a return match. Each individual game becomes a playoff qualifier for the Suns right now and winning games against the better teams is a proving ground.

The athletic Thunder are going to pose a lot of challenges for the Suns with the waves of ultra athletic players that can put pressure on the defense.

Playing sound defense and not allowing the Thunder to get out in transition to use their athleticism is going to have to be a major focus for the Suns in this game. The Suns want to get out, run, and use their athleticism as well, but a track meet with the Thunder can be like challenging Usain Bolt to a foot race.

With the potential loss of Miles Plumlee (and Eric Bledsoe) for this game the Suns get a lot less athletic and will have to rely on skill, pick-and-rolls, and execution. Channing Frye and Gerald Green's shooting will be a key, but also could be fools gold as explained a little lower in the preview.

(Recent) History Lesson

0-1 Against the Thunder (103-96 PPG)

In the first loss of the season for the Suns they fought and played well against what is now the best team in the NBA right now. In that game Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combined for 54 points and closed out the Suns who were equally carried by Eric Bledsoe and Gerald Green who finished with 47 points. The game was lost in the fourth quarter as the Suns led heading in playing very well.

Head-to-Head (past four seasons including Playoffs)

Suns: 98.4 PPG (1 wins)

Thunder: 110.6 PPG (11 wins)

What does 11 straight losses against one team look like? Like this. The Thunder have run off 11 straight wins over the Suns over the past four years and it has not been very competitive most nights with 8/11 games being won by double-digits...

Starting Line-Ups

PG - Goran Dragic v. Russell Westbrook

SG - Gerald Green v. Kevin Durant

SF - P.J. Tucker v. Perry Jones III

PF - Channing Frye v. Serge Ibaka

C - Alex Len v. Steven Adams

Potential Suns Inactives: Miles Plumlee (Right Knee, Game-Time Decision), Eric Bledsoe (Right Knee, Game-Time Decision), Leandro Barbosa (Left Hand, Out), and Emeka Okafor (Neck, Out Indefinitely)

Potential Thunder Inactives: Kendrick Perkins (Left Groin, Out) and Thabo Sefolosha (Left Calf, Out)

Key Match-Up

Alex Len vs. Seven Adams

Potential rookie starting center battle, that is if Plumlee is ruled out, which is a "game-time decision" as of this moment. Len has showed some flashes as he gets his game legs underneath him on both ends of the floor. Same thing for Adams, but he has had an entire season to gain a rhythm while playing with two of the Top 10 players in the game. This match-up can help decide the game in terms of team depth in the paint for both teams. Whoever can stand their ground and not get into foul trouble might be able to put their finger-prints all over this game.

Interesting Stat: Three-Point Shooting

The Thunder defense is designed to give up a lot of three-point attempts (28th in the NBA), but they defend it as well as anyone (8th best percentage against in the NBA) using that against their opponents. For the Suns, they shoot a lot of threes (8th most) and shoot the ball better (2nd best percentage) than nearly every team overall. As the Suns get ready for the game good looks might not be as good against the Thunder due to their defense and length on the defensive end.

With the playoff push on, the Phoenix Suns have turned to another world basketball veteran to help them get over the hump and keep playing games into May. Add Shavlik Randolph to a rotation that features P.J. Tucker and Gerald Green.

The Phoenix Suns signed a relatively unknown big man last week to bring some veteran moxie to a team in a playoff push that's been counting on two young big men in the pivot all season, Miles Plumlee and Alex Len.

The Suns already start a world traveler in P.J. Tucker at small forward and Gerald Green at shooting guard. Both players spent years of their athletic prime out of the NBA as they honed their craft and figured out how to make themselves indispensable to an NBA team.

Shavlik Randolph (6'10", 240) has not played more than 16 games in an NBA season since he was a rookie, but he's had 6 seasons of NBA experience and brings a needed presence under the basket. He's also had two full seasons and a couple of partial seasons overseas as he keeps his basketball career alive.

What does he bring to the Suns?

"We like, defensively, how he's a little more mobile and active," coach Jeff Hornacek said after Randolph's first game on Sunday night. "A lot of times if you're just in the right position, guys don't get to that shot (they want). That's what he brings. There's a lot to be said for being in the right position at the right time."

Clearly, Hornacek doesn't expect Randolph to be a world beater. He's played in 113 total career games, with only 7 NBA starts to his credit and career averages of 2.7 points and 2.7 rebounds per game.

He's not as athletic as Miles Plumlee or as talented as Alex Len. But neither of the Suns young big men has seen as much basketball as Randolph, who knows he just needs to be in the right place at the right time.

"I try to stay in my lane," he said. "Not try to do anything I can't do. My mentality is just to stay ready. Coach has been great at communicating with me, since I got here."

In two games, Randolph is a +18 in 24 minutes of play, tallying 11 points and grabbing 5 rebounds. He was on the court when the Suns made good runs against both Atlanta and the Clippers. He's not a shot blocker or a talented offensive player, but he's active and is willing to do the dirty work. The Suns outrebounded the bigger Clippers, and Randolph was good at boxing out huge center DeAndre Jordan.

"My focus was just to try to get a body on him," he said. "Let my teammates get the rebound."

With Miles Plumlee nursing an knee sprain, and Alex Len not playing well enough to be trusted in crunch minutes, expect Hornacek to turn to Randolph in crunch minutes for the foreseeable future. Randolph can allow the Suns other big men to be more active and aggressive while Randolph does the little things like boxing out.

Still, Randolph is just a week removed from sitting at home in Miami after ending his China season with a thud. Now, he's been a fourth-quarter mainstay as the Suns try to keep their heads above water.

"I just kept myself ready," he said. "When I went over to China, I did it with the mindset that I was going to come back and finish the season in the NBA."

China wasn't fun for him, after hurting his shoulder early in the season.

"It happened at the beginning of the season in China," he said. "I missed a few more games than they wanted me to miss. It kinda got dicey over there. If you don't play, the team starts losing, they stop paying you. You're not getting the medical attention you need. It was dicey."

But now he's back in the states, doing what he wanted to do all along.

"My wind is coming faster than my knowledge of the plays is coming," Randolph said of joining the Suns. "This team, they have a system that works, a rotation that works. So I'm having to go in and figure out what I can do to help a team that's already really good."

Randolph sees a lot of promise in young Alex Len, who started the last game and contributed 6 points and 6 rebounds in the first half.

"He's a very talented young big man with a big future in this league," Randolph said of Len. "I think [Len] showed glimpses of it tonight. You see his size, his ability to play above the rim, how long he is. The Suns have a lot to be excited about."

But for now, the coach wants someone who knows his way around the block. He wants a guy who will deliver the same performance every single time out. Randolph can provide that.

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