Westbrook's 43 points lead Thunder past Suns, 124-116
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) drives against Phoenix Suns guard Elfrid Payton during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, March 2, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)
By Bob Baum, Associated Press
PHOENIX (AP) — Russell Westbrook had 43 points, including the go-ahead three-pointer with 56 seconds to play, and the Oklahoma City Thunder scored the final 10 points of the game to escape with a 124-116 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time).
Westbrook also had 14 rebounds and eight assists for the Thunder, who had lost three straight to Phoenix. Paul George scored 20 points.
Devin Booker had 39 points for the Suns and — at 21 years, 123 days — became the third-youngest player in NBA history to reach 4,000 career points. Only LeBron James and Kevin Durant were younger.
Josh Jackson and T.J. Warren scored 19 apiece for the Suns, who broke their 10-game losing streak at Memphis on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time). Elfrid Payton had 18 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.
Booker's baseline 12-footer at the shot-clock buzzer put Phoenix up 115-114 with 2:37 to play and Alex Len made 1-of-2 free throws to make it 116-114 with 1:40 to go.
Westbrook tied it on a driving layup with 1:32 left and made just his second triple of the night to put the Thunder ahead for good, 119-116.
The Suns shot 56 percent and the Thunder 49 percent in an up-and-down first half that ended with Phoenix up 67-60.
Booker had 21 points, eight assists and four rebounds in the half. Westbrook countered with 19 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Jackson had 15 points in 10 minutes off the bench.
Booker scored Phoenix's first 11 points of the second half, the last nine on three's, and the Suns led by 13 early in the third quarter. But Westbrook led a 14-2 run, capped by his two free throws that cut the Phoenix lead to 92-91 with 3:18 to go in the period. Phoenix led 99-97 entering the fourth.
The Thunder opened the final quarter with a 10-2 run to lead 107-101 on Raymond Felton's 3. Booker's 14-footer at the shot-clock buzzer tied it at 110 with 4:48 remaining.
Thunder: It was Westbrook's highest-scoring game since he had a season-best 46 against Washington on Jan. 25 (Jan. 26, PHL time). ... Oklahoma City won at Phoenix for the first time since Feb. 8, 2016. ... Carmelo Anthony was the fourth-youngest player to reach 4,000 career points.
Suns: Booker scored 15 consecutive Phoenix points — four at the end of the first half, 11 to start the second. He has scored at least 30 in a career-best four straight games, first Suns player to do so since Amar'e Stoudemire from Dec. 20-28, 2004. ... C Tyson Chandler (neck) missed his fifth straight game.
Thunder: At the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday night (Sunday, PHL time).
Suns: At the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday (Monday, PHL time).