PHOENIX — Paul George scored 32 points, Steven Adams added 26 and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Phoenix Suns 110-100 on Saturday night, their 10th victory in 11 games.
The Thunder played without Russell Westbrook for the sixth straight game. He missed the first five with a sprained ankle, but the team said his absence on Saturday was for “personal reasons.”
But Oklahoma City was in control most of the night anyway, leading by as many as 18 points and beating the Suns for the third time this season with two of the victories coming without Westbrook.
T.J. Warren scored 23, Deandre Ayton 19 and Devin Booker 18 for Phoenix, which was trying to win consecutive games for the first time this season after beating San Antonio on Wednesday night.
The Thunder outscored Phoenix 17-4 to start the second half, capped by an 11-0 run that put Oklahoma City up 64-46 on George’s 20-footer with 7:05 left in the third quarter. Booker and Josh Jackson each sank 3s in an 8-0 spurt that cut it to 64-54. But Oklahoma City, dominating the game inside, rebuilt the lead to 18 before Jamal Crawford scored the last four points of the quarter to cut the Thunder’s advantage to 79-65 entering the fourth.
Down 93-78 after George’s two free throws with 5:27 to play, the Suns mounted an 11-2 run to cut it to 95-89 on Warren’s 3-pointer with 3:45 remaining. But Adams scored on an offensive rebound and broke free for a dunk and was fouled for a three-point play to boost the lead to 100-89. Phoenix never came closer than seven after that.
The game was close through a sloppy first half, when neither team could shoot better than 38 per cent.
Oklahoma City led 47-42 at the break, despite 12 turnovers. But Phoenix could turn them into just seven points.
Thunder: Westbrook practiced with the team on Friday and was at the Saturday shoot-around. … Oklahoma City improved to 5-1 in games since Westbrook was hurt. … The Thunder’s two previous victories over Phoenix were in Oklahoma City, the most recent on Tuesday. … Oklahoma City won its first road game against a Western Conference foe.
Suns: Trevor Ariza missed his second straight game for personal reasons. … Warren had his fifth straight 20-point game, a career best. …. Booker was only 6 of 17 from the field, but had 11 assists, one off the career best he set Wednesday.
Thunder: At Sacramento on Monday night.
Suns: Open a four-game road trip at Philadelphia on Monday.