The Oklahoma City Thunder probably were thinking the same thing most of us were: the Phoenix Suns, after playing poorly on Friday and coming in short-handed thanks to the trade, wouldn't give much of a battle. Whatever the reason, the Suns jumped into this game with both feet and energetically took an early lead. The shots were falling and the intensity was there on the defensive end and on the glass. When the Suns are playing like that, they are still a very good team.
Oklahoma, on the other hand, were flat in the first part of game on the defensive end and refused to knock down open shots against the Suns' zone defense. That allowed Phoenix to take a 54-45 lead into the half, with the Suns shooting 55 percent and the Thunder only 28 percent. Excessive foul shots by the home team, a reoccurring theme for the game, kept the game from being an early blowout. Oklahoma shot 24 free throw attempts in the first half compared to 11 for the Suns.
The Suns were led by a fantastic performance from Grant Hill, who was matched up with Kevin Durant on one end and scored 30 points on the other. Hill also grabbed 11 rebounds. Durant finished with 28 points and four rebounds. Steve Nash added his own double-double with 20 points and 10 assists.
The key player for the Suns, however, was Robin Lopez, who looks like he's returning to the form we saw last season. He was knocking down open shots and playing solid defense in the paint. Robin finished with 19 points and while he only had four rebounds of his own, his presence on the floor was key to the Suns finishing plus-five on the glass overall. Not surprisingly, the only quarter the Thunder won the rebounding battle was the third and Lopez played less than five minutes in that period.
Josh Childress and Goran Dragic both gave the Suns solid performances off the bench. Childress, who had to cover Kevin Durant late in the game due to Grant Hill's foul trouble, had his best all-around showing as a Sun. He drew a charge on Durant and had one of his three steals during an important stretch of the game. Josh finished with 10 points, five rebounds and three steals in 28 minutes. Dragic had 11 points and five assists in 32 minutes.
The Suns now travel to San Antonio for a game against the Spurs on Monday. The Suns will still be without their three new players acquired in the trade with Orlando. Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat and Mickael Pietrus won't be ready to play for the Suns until Thursday's home game against Miami.