Michael Jordan’s Streak Falls, But So Do The Thunder As Suns Fight For Playoff Lives.

Michael Jordan’s Streak Falls, But So Do The Thunder As Suns Fight For Playoff Lives.
PJ Tucker squares off with Kevin Durant. Durant's 38-point, 11-rebound performance wasn't enough to secure the victory. Tucker finished with 22 points.

PJ Tucker squares off with Kevin Durant. Durant’s 38-point, 11-rebound performance wasn’t enough to secure the victory. Tucker finished with 22 points.

Kevin Durant’s streak of 25+-point games is officially at 41, eclipsing Michael Jordan’s streak, and posting the longest such streak of the last 50 years.

Marcus Morris throws down 2 of his 10 points.

Marcus Morris throws down 2 of his 10 points.

That stated, it didn’t help them secure the win against a scrappy Suns team who were on the outside looking in as one of the 5 teams battling for the remaining 4 playoff spots in the Western Conference. Their 45-31 record was identical to the Grizzlies’ record coming in, but the Grizz won every head-to-head against the Suns this season, giving them the tie-breaker edge.

Markieff Morris puts one over Caron Butler. Markieff ended his night with 10 points.

Markieff Morris puts one over Caron Butler. Markieff ended his night with 10 points.

This was a fairly close game most of the way, given there were 10 ties and 9 lead changes. Although the Thunder could only establish a 5-point lead at best, while the Suns pushed their lead to 14 at one point. What cost the Thunder in this game was their inability to score in the game’s final 2 1/2 minutes. A Durant 3-pointer was the only made Thunder bucket in the last 2:39 of the game. The Thunder were actually up 112-111 until the scoring drought, which allowed the Suns to finish the game on an 11-3 run that sealed the win. The final was 122-115, which moved the Suns to 46-35. Coupled with the Grizzlies’ 112-92 loss to the Spurs that same evening, it moved them 1 game ahead for the Western Conference’s final playoff seed. The Spurs win also essentially locked them into the #1 seed. It wasn’t technically official, but the Thunder are simply being asked too much to overtake the Spurs for the #1 spot this late in the season.

Gerald Green pops over Derek Fisher. Green finished with an astounding 24 bench points.

Gerald Green pops over Derek Fisher. Green finished with an astounding 24 bench points.

Durant’s 38-point, 11-rebound double-double was impressive, but ultimately failed to get the W. Russell Westbrook contributed 33 points, Serge Ibaka posted 11 points, and Reggie Jackson was also good for 11 from off of the Thunder bench.

Reggie Jackson tries to blow by Eric Bledsoe. Jackson finished with 11 from the Thunder bench. Bledsoe posted 18 points.

Reggie Jackson tries to blow by Eric Bledsoe. Jackson finished with 11 from the Thunder bench. Bledsoe posted 18 points.

The thing is, 6 different Suns players scored in double figures, and 3 of them were bench players. Goran Dragic’s 26 points led the Suns’ scorers, followed by PJ Tucker’s 22, and Eric Bledsoe’s 18 from the staring 5. The bench saw Gerald Green drop an impressive 24 points, while the Morris brothers, (Markieff and Marcus) managed 10 points apiece.

Bledsoe and Goran Dragic celebrate with Ibaka and Westbrook in frame. Dragic's 26 points led all Suns scorers. Westbrook's 33 points were to no avail, and Ibaka finished with 11.

Bledsoe and Goran Dragic celebrate with Ibaka and Westbrook in frame. Dragic’s 26 points led all Suns scorers. Westbrook’s 33 points were to no avail, and Ibaka finished with 11.

Sorry I’ve been running so far behind on these. I’ve had a lot on my plate lately, and it’s all I can do to find the time to smash these out these days. Coming up shortly, I recap the California back-to-back. Stay Tuned.

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