OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Paul George matched his season high with 32 points and went 6 of 10 from 3-point range, Dennis Schroder added 20 points and nine assists, and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Phoenix Suns 118-101 on Monday night.
The Thunder have won eight of their last nine games after a 0-4 start while the Suns have lost four straight and 11 of their last 12. Two of those losses have come in Oklahoma City.
Oklahoma City scored 22 straight points in the first quarter, holding the Suns scoreless for nearly seven minutes, to take a 24-5 lead. The Thunder never trailed again and led by as many as 28 points in the second quarter before settling for a 64-40 halftime lead.
The Thunder played a fourth straight game without star guard Russell Westbrook, who sat out with a sprained left ankle on his 30th birthday. They didn’t need him against Phoenix, thanks to George, Schroder and Steven Adams, who scored 18 points to go with seven rebounds, three steals and two blocked shots.
Adams often left Suns rookie center Deandre Ayton befuddled on both ends of the court, especially early. Ayton finished with 14 points.
T.J. Warren led the Suns with 21 points while Devin Booker had 19 points and six assists.
A 10-3 run by the Suns early in the third quarter pulled them within 70-53, but Schroder — who started the game 1 of 11 from the field — hit consecutive 3-pointers off passes from George (who had six assists and eight rebounds) to rebuild the Thunder’s lead to 78-55.
Phoenix scored 12 straight points, though, and trailed only 86-75 at the end of the quarter. A 3-pointer by Jamal Crawford pulled the Suns within 93-86 with 7:56 left, but the Thunder used a 15-4 run to rebuild their lead and weren’t challenged again.
The Thunder are 16-4 all-time against the Suns at home (after once being 0-3) and have won 23 of their last 29 games overall against Phoenix. The teams will play again Saturday in Phoenix and will wrap up their season series on Dec. 28, also in Phoenix.
Suns: Phoenix’s 13 first-quarter points were the lowest by a Thunder opponent in an opening quarter this season . Warren has 20 3-pointers this season in 13 games after making 20 in 65 games last season.
Thunder: George’s six 3-pointers were the most in a game by a Thunder player this season . Schroder received a technical foul in the third quarter . The two boxers who will fight at Chesapeake Energy Arena on Friday for the WBO welterweight title, reigning champ Maurice Hooker and Alex Saucedo of Oklahoma City, both attended the game.
Suns: Host the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday, then the Thunder on Saturday.
Thunder: Host the New York Knicks on Wednesday.
Source: Fox Sports