01/27 22:26 CST Thunder rally for 102-97 win over Suns, ruining Paul's night
Thunder rally for 102-97 win over Suns, ruining Paul's night
By DAVID BRANDT
AP Sports Writer
PHOENIX (AP) --- Al Horford had 21 points and 11 rebounds, Shai
Gilgeous-Alexander also scored 21 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the
Phoenix Suns 102-97 on Wednesday night.
Chris Paul scored a season-high 32 points in his first game against the Thunder
after being traded to the Suns from Oklahoma City during the offseason. The
10-time All-Star played well during his only season with the Thunder, averaging
17.6 points and 6.7 assists.
He had one of his best games this season at Oklahoma City's expense on
Wednesday. The point guard shot 12 of 21 from the field and scored 13 points
during a seven-minute stretch in the fourth that accounted for a big chunk of
the team's offense.
But the young and improving Thunder hung close throughout the fourth and
rallied in the final minutes. Lu Dort made a 3-pointer with 2 minutes left that
put Oklahoma City up 96-95 and the Thunder didn't trail again.
Paul had a chance to tie the game with about 10 seconds left on a 3-pointer,
but missed badly for an airball.
Phoenix played without All-Star guard Devin Booker, who missed his second
straight game with a sore hamstring. The Suns have lost three straight. Jae
Crowder added 17 points for Phoenix, which shot just 38% from the field.
Oklahoma City took advantage of some cold shooting from Phoenix --- which
missed 16 straight 3-pointers during a stretch --- and pushed to a 59-46 lead
early in the third quarter. The Suns eventually shook loose from the slump and
pulled within 73-71 heading into the fourth.
The Suns jumped out to a 32-17 lead in the first quarter after getting 17
points from their bench. But the offense collapsed in the second and they
scored just 10 points while missing all 11 3-point attempts. That helped the
Thunder push to a 45-42 halftime lead.
Thunder: Horford was back in the lineup after missing six straight games
because of personal reasons. ... Veteran guard George Hill didn't play because
of a sprained thumb.
Suns: Backup guard Cameron Payne missed didn't play because of a sore foot. ...
Forwards Dario Saric and Damian Jones both missed the game because of the
league's health and safety protocols but were on the bench.
Suns coach Monty Williams was on the bench after missing the past two days of
practice because of personal reasons.
"I don't like missing days," Williams said. "It's not part of my career over my
time in the league. I haven't missed days. So that's always hard for me, but
there's just certain things in my life that I have to attend to. I may have to
do it a few more times going forward, but I certainly appreciate the level of
concern and respect for my privacy. At the right time, I'll let everyone know
what's going on, but for now it's a private matter."
Thunder: Starts a five-game homestand with a game against the Nets on Friday.
Suns: Host the Warriors on Thursday.
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