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Oklahoma Sports

January 1, 2013

Thunder finishes 2012 with home win

(Continued)

OKLAHOMA CITY —

Westbrook then assisted on a basket by Serge Ibaka and followed with a 3-pointer to put Oklahoma City ahead 82-68, its biggest lead of the game, at the 3:44 mark.

"Russ is tough," Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said. "He competes. He does a lot of good things. Russell plays with a lot of emotion, a lot of toughness. He just plays hard. I'm so proud of the way he plays every night. He doesn't miss games. He doesn't miss practice. He just competes every time down the court.

"Like a lot of our guys, he's not always perfect, but his effort most nights is always good. Russell came back and gave us good effort and energy and toughness."

Scola had seven points in a 9-2 run by the Suns that pulled them within 84-78 by quarter's end, and Phoenix closed within 87-85 with 9:05 left on a basket by Jermaine O'Neal. But Nick Collison answered with a 16-foot jumper for the Thunder, and after a couple of empty possessions by both teams, Thabo Sefolosha's 3-pointer with 7:32 left put Oklahoma City up 92-85.

The Thunder put the game away with a 12-2 run, capped by a eight-foot floating jumper by Westbrook in the lane with 3:08 left to make it 104-89.

"I thought we played well up until the last five or six minutes of the game," Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry said. "I thought P.J. (Tucker) did about as good of a job as you can on Kevin (Durant). It's really difficult to think you're going to be able to stop the Thunder every single time with (Westbrook and Durant) on the court."

Durant recorded his 13th outing this season of 30 points or more, but had a poor shooting night, finishing 11-of-24 from the field. Westbrook, who has struggled with his shot in recent games, finished 7 of 16. Ibaka scored 16 points, Sefolosha added 14 points and Collison had 10 points and nine rebounds for the Thunder.

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