The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Sports

March 6, 2014

Green leads Suns over Thunder

PHOENIX, Ariz. —  Gerald Green scored 25 of his career-high 41 points in the third quarter and the Phoenix Suns erased a 16-point deficit to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 128-122 on Thursday night.

Markieff Morris added 24 points, including two free throws with 24.4 seconds to play. Goran Dragic scored 22, including six of the Suns’ final 12 points after Oklahoma City led 118-116.

Russell Westbrook scored a season-high 36 for the Thunder, who would have pulled a half-game ahead of Indiana for the NBA’s best record with a victory. Kevin Durant added 34.

Green’s outburst fell one point shy of a Suns record for most points in a quarter set by Stephon Marbury in 2002. His career-best eight 3-pointers also was one shy of the franchise mark.

It was Phoenix’s second 40-point performance in four games. Dragic had 40 against New Orleans on Friday.

In the third quarter, Green was 7 of 11, including 6 of 6 on 3s. Fouled on a 3-pointer with 6.9 seconds left, Green missed one of the three free throws or he would have tied Marbury’s franchise record.

After trailing by as many as 16 in the quarter, the Suns scored the final 14 points of the third to lead 101-98 entering the fourth. The run reached 21-3 when Marcus Morris’ 3 put Phoenix up 108-101 with 9:34 to play.

But Westbrook brought the Thunder back. He made three 3s, the last to tie it at 116 with 4:34 to play. Ibaka’s dunk put Oklahoma City back on top, 118-116, with 4:10 to go.

Dragic tied it with a driving layup with 2:22 left, then his reverse layup gave the Suns a 118-116 lead with 2:02 left. He was fouled on the play but missed the free throw, one of 10 misses from the line by Phoenix. Oklahoma City was 19 of 19.

Markieff Morris scored to make it 122-118 with 1:11 left, then Durant cut it to 122-120 with 1:01 to go. Dragic’s 16-footer boosted the lead to 124-120 with 45.9 seconds remaining. Durant scored again to make it 124-122 with 40.9 seconds left. But Morris made two free throws, then twin brother Marcus made two more with 5.6 seconds to go.

Westbrook had a steal and dunk on the Suns’ opening possession and had two more steals and layups en route to a 13-point first quarter. Oklahoma City led by as many was 13 in the opening quarter and was up 41-32 after one.

It was the Thunder’s highest-scoring quarter of the season and highest-scoring period for a Phoenix opponent.

The Suns opened the second quarter with a 7-2 spurt to cut it to 43-38. The Thunder stretched the lead to 10 moments later and were up 63-54 on Durant’s acrobatic driving layup.

Phoenix outscored Oklahoma City 7-2 over the final minute of the half, cutting the Thunder lead to 65-61 on Channing Frye’s rebound basket at the buzzer.

The Thunder opened the second half with a 12-5 run to lead 77-66 after Westbrook’s 3. Phoenix cut it to 77-72 and was down 83-77 when Green made two free throws with 6:38 left in the quarter.

Oklahoma City responded with a 13-3 surge, building its biggest advantage of the night at 96-80 on Caron Butler’s fourth 3-pointer, with 3:47 left in the third.

Notes: The Suns were without center Miles Plumlee for the second game in a row with a sprained shoulder. ... Phoenix G Eric Bledsoe is close to playing and could be back in any of the coming three games. ... The Thunder had won three in a row in Phoenix. ... Durant didn’t make a jumper in the first half and still had 15 points.

 

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