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NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, December 31st (All times Eastern)
Phoenix Suns (11-20) at Oklahoma City Thunder (23-6), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Oklahoma City Thunder try to nab one more home victory in 2012 on Monday night as they take on the Phoenix Suns, who aim to halt a five-game losing streak.
The Thunder are 15-2 at home this season and have won 11 straight as the hosting club. They haven't lost at home since Nov. 14 against Memphis.
Oklahoma City is coming off a 124-94 road win over the Houston Rockets, getting 28 points from Russell Westbrook and 26 from Kevin Durant.
Westbrook added eight assists and eight rebounds, while Kevin Martin racked up 19 points off the bench to help the Thunder top their previous scoring high. That also came against the Rockets, a 120-98 rout in Oklahoma City on Nov. 28 that marked the first meeting between the teams since the preseason trade that sent star guard James Harden to Houston.
Much of the damage came from beyond the arc, with Oklahoma City knocking down 13-of-29 shots from three-point range. Martin went 5-of-8 from long distance, with Durant hitting on 4-of-9 attempts.
"I started off terrible and I just wanted to get going," Durant said of his performance. "My teammates always believe in me and I believe in myself. I just wanted to come off and shoot a good shot."
In winning for the 14th time in 16 games, the Thunder turned a two-point lead with four minutes left in the first half to a commanding edge by scoring the final 16 points of the second quarter.
The Thunder play the first of three in a row at home against the Suns, who have lost 12 of their last 16 and fell to 2-13 on the road this season with a 111-107 setback in Minnesota on Saturday.
Luis Scola poured in a game-high 33 points with 10 rebounds, Shannon Brown had 21 points and Goran Dragic added 16 points and 12 assists in the setback.
Phoenix led 102-99 with 3:47 left in the fourth quarter, but Minnesota countered with a 10-4 surge to go up with 55.6 seconds left.
"This is our 11th close game and we cannot finish any of them," Dragic said. "All of those games were close, even tonight's game. We just have to battle and try to get a little bit of confidence."
The Suns will close out a three-game road trip looking to snap a three-game slide in Oklahoma City.
Phoenix lost all three of its meetings with the Thunder a season ago and have lost six straight and eight of its last 10 in this series.
12/31 10:34:59 ET