Thunder Bench Steps Up in Victory over Suns


Thursday, May 26th 2011, 12:11 pm
By: News On 6


Originally Published: Feb 4, 2011 9:55 PM CDT

Grant Belcher
Oklahoma Sports Staff Writer

PHOENIX – Even though the Thunder now have two All-Stars, it was the rest of the crew that was the difference in the game Friday for Oklahoma City.

Big games from Jeff Green, Serge Ibaka and James Harden helped the Thunder to a 111-107 win against the Suns.

Oklahoma City had to ice the game with free throws, but did so effectively, shooting 86 percent from the line.

Green led the Thunder with 28 points. Serge Ibaka added 18 points on 9-of-10 shooting and James Harden had 13 points, six rebounds and five assists.

Phoenix exploded out of the gate, leading by 11 points just five minutes into the game.

A 7-0 run from the Thunder helped cut the lead down to five to end the first quarter.

After leading 2-0 to start the game, OKC didn’t regain the lead again until a 3-pointer from Jeff Green made it 51-48 with 5:09 left in the first half.

At the end of the third quarter, Phoenix regained control, hitting four straight 3s to take a seven-point lead and hold it until the end of the quarter.

But the real momentum swing came with just more than four minutes left in the game.

Kevin Durant drew a foul on Grant Hill which got several Suns players fired up. Hill and Steve Nash both picked up technical fouls, and Durant drained both technical free throws to tie it up.

OKC (32-17) took the lead for good on a tip from Ibaka with 1:29 left and was able to hang on for its fourth victory in the past five games.

Kevin Durant had 24 points and 11 rebounds for OKC, and Russell Westbrook, who was named an All-Star the day before, had 19 points and 11 assists.

Vince Carter led Phoenix (23-25) with 33.

Oklahoma City will head to Salt Lake City to take on the Jazz on Saturday at 8 p.m.