The Oklahoma City Thunder were coming off a heartbreaking road loss to the Sacramento Kings, and they were gearing up for their second game in a row away from home, this time against the formidable Phoenix Suns.
After losing for the second time to the Los Angeles Lakers, the Phoenix Suns (still without Devin Booker) were eager to get back on track against a highly determined Oklahoma City Thunder team.
With the teams’ intentions out bare and the game still to be played, they prepared to tip off. The Thunder went on to defeat the Suns by a score of 111-99.
Both the Thunder and the Suns kept the game close to start, going toe-to-toe from the floor – both shot over 45 percent from the field. The Thunder were led in scoring by Jalen Williams, who had 31 points, two steals, and three 3-pointers on the night, while the Suns were led in scoring by Kevin Durant, who scored 28 points but was held to just one assist.
Oklahoma City jumped off to an early lead thanks to a pair of free throws by rookie Chet Holmgren of the Thunder. But Durant and Bradley Beal quickly made a decisive move that brought the Suns within striking distance.
Both players scored 11 points in the first quarter, but the Thunder maintained the lead until the very last shot of the period, and the teams went into the break tied.
Williams scored all of his points in the paint in the second quarter to help the Nets pull even with the Suns, but the Suns still went into halftime with a five-point advantage despite the efforts of Gilgeous-Alexander (game high 35 points) and Williams.
From there, it was a game of catchup. The third quarter, at the very least.
After a jump shot from Josh Giddey started the second half scoring for the Thunder, both Holmgren and Williams kept the Thunder within striking distance of Phoenix, with several occasions seeing the Thunder come within a single score of the Suns. The Suns’ big three of Beal, Durant, and third-highest scorer Eubanks had the Thunder down by six points going into the fourth quarter.
Gilgeous-Alexander scored five consecutive points with seven minutes left in the fourth quarter to give the Thunder a four-point lead for the first time in the game. But Beal scored again, and this time Phoenix took the lead.
After staying close to the Suns for a while, the Thunder were able to go ahead thanks to free throws from Holmgren and Williams.
Then Shai Gilgeous-Alexander proceeded to make his mark. Just under three minutes remained, he sank a 3-pointer that effectively sealed the victory for his team by extending their advantage to double digits for the first time in the game. Several times in the last minutes, Phoenix rallied and was within double digits, but it was never enough.
The Suns’ home court advantage had been severely damaged, and they ultimately lost 111-99, failing to record their second home victory of the season.
Oklahoma City improves to 6-4 on the season and avenges its previous loss with a convincing road victory in the Western Conference.
The Thunder will soon host the San Antonio Spurs for the first time this season, giving Chet Holmgren his first opportunity to face Victor Wembanyama in a regular season game.