Thunder/Suns Live Blog
The Thunder is putting a ton of pressure on their role players to win an important game this afternoon as Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari, and Steven Adams are all out. Gigs'-Alexander is dealing with a right calf contusion, Gallinari is on the bench for a right ankle and maintenance issues, and Adams will miss his third straight game with a left leg contusion.
Joining them on the bench is Nerlens Noel, who was a late scratch against Washington. Noel has a right ankle sprain. Dennis Schroder is also out for personal reasons.
"Suns' Deandre Ayton missed his coronavirus test Sunday, was retested Monday morning and can rejoin the team when results return. A source tells Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Not having to deal with Deandre Ayton is going to be huge! The Thunder should be able to play much like they did yesterday, with Muscala and Bazley being able to stretch the floor.
Bazley's hustle just got the Thunder another three points. Not that he falls into this category, but this late in the season, those are types of plays coaches are looking for. Not just to get you ready for the playoffs, but if you're a borderline guy, they want to know how bad you want a job.
Especially when you're on a team like the Wizards, you NEVER have NOTHING to play for; You might not be going to the postseason, but some personnel guy is going to know how you performed during game 65 when you're team is out of contention.
If you're not giving effort, you won't last.
If you haven't noticed Darius Bazley is using the restart to show you just how good he's going to be in the next three years, he already has 10 points.
You almost feel sorry for Cameron Payne on that charge by Diallo. Diallo that head lowered, going in as if he were Emmit Smith at the goal line.
On a side note, the Phoenix Gorilla is essential personnel and should have been allowed in the bubble.
When the Thunder announced three of the starting five were out, it felt they were conceding this game; 30 points in the first quarter say otherwise. However, those sloppy inbounds play that let Phoenix cut the lead to eight are inexcusable!
Phoenix can't handle prosperity, Rubio is trying to do too much right now, and it's playing into the Thunder's hands.
37-23 Thunder after one.
Ayton is back! Muscala can't match up with him on the defensive end; the Thunder is going to have to be active on defense forcing turnovers and hoping the Suns don't keep going into the paint.
The restart is reminding us of just how hard Diallo can dunk! That is a good defense on Ayton the possession before. Ferguson was getting a hand in his face, Muscala coming over to help.
Thunder having too many trips down the floor with only one look at the basket.
Billy Donovan hit with his second tech in as many days. Diallo is abusing Cameron Payne, sure the charge and the shot to the face are illegal, but you must get an understanding with the man guarding you that if the defense is going to be that tight, you are going to feel it the next day.
There is your first lead change of the day—65-64 PHX.
Bazley and Paul are already playing 18 and 16 minutes, respectively.
The Suns lead at halftime 65-64
Suns start the second half on a 7-0 run. 11-2 Suns in the third quarter, timeout Thunder.
Devin Booker with 31 at 4:33 left in the third quarter, including at 39-foot jumper!
Bazley first rookie since James Harden to score 20 points in back to back games.
Chirs Paul should be done for the rest of this game.
Thunder down 98-81 going into the fourth quarter.
We'll have postgame reaction from Billy Donovan and Thunder players here on inside the Thunder.