Sefolosha helps Thunder rout Phoenix again 97-69
The Associated Press | February 11,2013
PHOENIX — When Oklahoma City faces Phoenix, the Thunder rolls.
Thabo Sefolosha made a career-high 5 of 7 3-pointers and the Oklahoma City Thunder routed the Phoenix Suns for the second game in a row 97-69 on Sunday night.
The 28-point blowout followed a 127-96 Thunder romp over the Suns in Oklahoma City on Friday night.
“We played the same as we did last time,” Russell Westbrook said. “I think we did a good job of that, and maybe even better this time.”
Westbrook scored 24 points in 28 minutes in the Thunder’s 10th straight victory over Phoenix, the longest active streak for any Suns opponent.
Sefolosha added 20 points, two shy of his career high. Kevin Durant scored 18, 11 below his NBA-leading season average (29.1), in limited duty in the Thunder’s fourth straight win, none of them by fewer than a 21-point margin.
Sefolosha set a season high for the second straight game after getting 18 against the Suns on Friday.
The one-sided wins are giving everybody plenty of time on the court.
“The thing about our team we have guys who can come in and do a good job when needed,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “There are some guys who don’t get to play, but it nice for them to get opportunities.”
Markieff Morris was the only Phoenix player in double figures with 12.
Wesley Johnson’s tip-in with 7.8 seconds to play prevented the Suns from setting a franchise scoring low, a mark that has stood for nearly 32 years.
Phoenix scored 68 at Kansas City on March 8, 1981.
“Never in my career I get beat two games in a row by so many points,” said the Suns’ Goran Dragic, who scored six points on 2 of 7 shooting. “It was a tough game. I mean, they’re one of the better teams in the league. They were controlling the game from the start. We didn’t know what we were doing defensively, offensively.”
Durant was just 1 for 5 shooting in the first quarter but Oklahoma City still led 27-16. The Thunder scored the last eight in the quarter, including a pair of 3s from the corner by Sefolosha. Sefolosha made another one to start the second quarter, capping the run at 11-0 and putting Oklahoma City up 30-16.
Phoenix crawled back, cutting it to 35-32 on P.J. Tucker’s rebound basket, but the Thunder scored the next nine, including another 3 for Sefolosha, and it was 45-32.
Oklahoma City finished the half with a 16-2 run, Westbrook’s 3 at the buzzer putting the Thunder up 51-34.
To start the third quarter, Sefolosha scored, Durant dunked and the rout was on at 55-34. Oklahoma City led 74-48 after three.
“We are just trying to focus on us every single day and how we can be better and playing up to our standards, which is defense first,” Durant said.
“These past two or three games have been really great for us on the defensive end setting the tone. When we play an all-around game with everyone contributing on the offensive end, defensive end. We always do it as unit. Then offensive end, we are doing a better job of playing together. Everybody getting touches and feeling good about themselves.”
The biggest lead was 35.
“You treat it as one game,” interim coach Lindsey Hunter said. “It is like having a bad day at work and nothing goes right for you. Look at it and you go on. You know what? I am glad today is over, let’s start over. You do not hang your head and dwell on it, you move on. And that is what we are going to do. That is my job not to let the guys have pity parties.”
Sefolosha had four 3s, in five attempts, by halftime to tie his career high for a game, set four times, most recently two nights earlier in the rout of the Suns. He broke it with a 3 in the second half.
Phoenix shot 33 percent to Oklahoma City’s 45 percent.
The Thunder made 20 of 27 free throws while the Suns went to the line a season-low five times, making all of them.
The seven fouls by the Thunder were the fewest ever for a Phoenix opponent. The previous mark was eight set just under 38 years ago.
Oklahoma City, improving to 16-9 on the road, has won its past four by 21, 21, 32 and 28 points.
Notes: The Thunder were without Kevin Martin because of the flu. ... The Suns last beat the Thunder on Dec. 19, 2010, in Oklahoma City. Their last win over the Thunder in Phoenix was on March 14, 2009. ... Oklahoma City has two games before the All-Star break — Tuesday night at Utah, then home against Miami on Thursday. The Suns have one before the break, at the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday. ... Oklahoma City’s most one-sided victory this season was 114-69 over Charlotte on Nov. 26. The Suns’ most one-sided loss was 117-77 at Detroit on Nov. 28.
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