Suns Get Thunder-struck In OKC

Serge Ibaka (nickname: "Air Congo") dunked 10 seconds into the game, and the Oklahoma City Thunder were off and running in Saturday's New Year's Eve NBA game between the Thunder and Phoenix Suns.

Yup, the Thunder took over early, as all five starters had scored before the first quarter reached its midpoint, and that was a sign of bad things to come for the visiting Suns. OKC (5-0) got balanced scoring including 18 points from Russell Westbrook and rang in 2012 with a 107-97 win at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Phoenix trailed by as many as 12 points in the first quarter but cut the lead to five, 21-16, on a follow dunk by Robin Lopez with 2:46 to go. The OKC lead was one point, 23-22, for about 10 seconds.

Josh Childress was first off the bench followed by Lopez and Ronnie Price for the Suns. The ninth man was Markieff Morris, who surpassed his minute of PT from the previous night in New Orleans.

The Thunder had had enough of the Suns staying close as the second quarter unfolded. A 10-2 run capped off by Daequan Cook's three with 7:47 to go gave OKC a 42-31 lead. Cook was just getting started; the guard who once dropped 27 on the Suns while with the Miami Heat sank four 3-pointers in the second quarter alone and the Thunder led by as many as 19.

The Suns cut the lead to 12 with a 9-2 run of their own, but the Thunder went in at the half with a 60-46 lead and 60 percent field goal shooting in the first half.

OKC, essentially, dominated after the first quarter. There were no little squabbles among teammates for the Thunder, as had happened in a game earlier this season. Westbrook's layup made it 82-61 with 1:37 left in the third.

The Thunder won despite an off night for star Kevin Durant, who had just 12 points and committed five turnovers. Jared Dudley led the Suns starters with 14 points but Phoenix won't win against quality Western Conference opponents on the road shooting 39.8 percent like they did Saturday.

Morris banked in a three with 5:26 to go in the game to make it 96-81, the last highlight of the night for the Suns, who fell to 1-3. Morris and Hakim Warrick had 15 points each off the bench, Morris logging 15:47 of action.

The Suns never led in the game and were outscored 54-42 in the paint and outscored on fastbreak points, 21-5.

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