The Oklahoma City Thunder didn’t do too badly without Kevin Durant in his most recent absence, but having him back is a wonderful bonus, especially in a game that Russell Westbrook got ejected from, leading his team to a 137-134 win over the Phoenix Suns.
Durant scored 44 points after six games away from the floor. He added 10 rebounds and 7 assists, getting the chance to have every ball and possession go through him in the second half. Russell Westbrook played 17 minutes (scoring 20 points, continuing his remarkable points-per-minute record) before getting ejected. The first technical foul was for fighting with Alex Len. The second one? It turns out celebrating is not allowed.
It was an exciting game, maybe the best we’ve seen this season, especially for those who don’t mind seeing zero defense in their 48 minutes of basketball. The Suns didn’t get all three point guards to perform to their liking, with Isaiah Thomas scoring just six points and Gerald Green shooting just 3-of-11 from the field. Eric Bledsoe was great with 42 points but didn’t finish the game, fouling out. Markieff Morris scored 25 and Goran Dragic added 21 points, but they just couldn’t keep up with Duran’t scoring.
You know, I didn’t even realize he had 44 points. That just tells you what kind of a leader he is. He just kept everybody in the right place mentally and on the court. He came out aggressive. He came out like he never lost a step. It was a good win for us tonight. We did a good job of sticking together.
With Durant, the Thunder are one of the best teams in the league, with very few losses to show for when both he and Westbrook are playing this season. They have some work to do in terms of making up for lost time, but as long as Westbrook can control his temper, it’s not going to be that much of a problem to at least put themselves among the top 8 in the West and make their way up slowly from there.