Thunder 127, Suns 96By Michael Kinney, The Sports Xchange | The SportsXchange – Fri, Feb 8, 2013 10:40 PM EST
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Kevin Durant scored 21 points to lead five players in double-figure scoring for Oklahoma City as it rolled over Phoenix 127-96 Friday at the Chesapeake Energy Arena. Oklahoma City (38-12) is now 17-1 this season when five players score 10 or more points. Durant took only 11 shots, but was 4-for-5 from 3-point range. He also collected six rebounds and four assists. Kendric Perkins was 8-for-9 from the field to post 17 points and pull down a game-high nine rebounds. Thabo Sefolosha added 18 points, Russell Westbrook 17 and Kevin Martin 13. Michael Beasley came off the bench to pace the Suns (17-34) with 25 points and seven rebounds. Goran Dragic posted 19 points and six assists. All three of the Thunder's wins over the Suns this season have been by more than 10 points. The Thunder were blazing hot to start the game, hitting their first six shots, including a massive 2-handed dunk by Westbrook and a 3-pointer from Durant in the first 60 seconds forced Phoenix coach Lindsey Hunter to call a timeout. But Dragic kept the Suns from getting run out of the building early as he scored 13 of the team's first 15 points. Westbrook had no answer for him on the defensive end. Durant started the night off camped out behind the arc. But midway through the second, he added another highlight to his ever-growing list when he dribbled the ball from halfcourt and turned the corner on his defender, leaving an open lane for him to throw down a dunk on the Suns' Markieff Morris. With the score tied at 50-50, Westbrook knocked down a 3-pointer with 30 seconds left in the first half. The ball bounced up and hit the top of the backboard before falling in. Phoenix had a chance to answer, but Serge Ibaka ripped Dragic and went coast-to-coast for the slam dunk. The Thunder led 55-50 at halftime. Oklahoma City went on a 17-5 run to start the third that saw every player get involved. Perkins was knocking down jumpers from 17-feet out. However, it was the Thunder's defense that sparked the victory. After Dragic victimized Westbrook in the first quarter for 16 points, Thunder coach Scott Brooks moved Sefolosha onto him the rest of the game. Dragic was held scoreless until 1:16 left in the third. Phoenix went more than six minutes without scoring a point as Oklahoma City took a 21-point lead into the fourth. NOTES: Thursday night, the Boston Celtics' Kevin Garnett became the 16th player to pass the 25,000-point mark. He reached the barrier by averaging 19 points over 17 1/2 seasons. By comparison, Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant entered Friday with 11,414 points in 5 1/2 seasons. The 24-year-old three-time scoring champion and current league leader entered Friday averaging 26.6 points per game. ... The Suns' Goran Dragic and the Thunder's Russell Westbrook entered Friday as two of only six players in the NBA averaging more than 14 points, six assists and 1.5 steals. They joined Chris Paul, Stephen Curry, Ty Lawson and LeBron James. ... Besides playing in the NBA All-Star Game, Westbrook will lead Team Westbrook in the Sears Shooting Stars competition. The teams were announced Thursday. Team Westbrook includes Robert Horry and the WNBA's Maya Moore. Coach Scott Brooks had a difficult time choosing the best shooter on Team Westbrook. "(Maya) is good," Brooks said. "What's her shooting percentage from the free-throw line? I bet hers is higher."
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