Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 2/8/13
Although the Oklahoma City Thunder win a majority of their games behind a high-powered offense led by All-Stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, coach Scott Brooks wants his team to put some extra emphasis on the defensive end. They seemingly shouldn't have much trouble with that request against the offensively challenged Phoenix Suns in Oklahoma City on Friday night. The Thunder (37-12) average a league-best 106.2 points, with Durant leading all scorers at 29.3 per game and Westbrook ranking seventh at 22.6. The team put together one of its better offensive showings Wednesday in a 119-98 victory over Golden State. Durant had 25 points, Westbrook scored 22 and Kevin Martin added 21 as Oklahoma City won consecutive games for the first time in nearly three weeks after alternating wins and losses for the previous eight contests. While the Thunder's offense led the way, the defense limited the Warriors to 19 points in the fourth quarter. Oklahoma City has won 28 straight games when holding opponents to 98 points or fewer. "I'm looking for us to just continue to bring the effort on the defensive end," Brooks said. "I've always felt with our guys as the season has gone and the years have gone by that offensively we're going to keep improving in that area but we wanted to focus on defense." Although Brooks is looking for another strong showing from his defense, he wouldn't mind if Oklahoma City's offense continues to have its way with Phoenix. The Thunder are averaging 112.0 points while winning the last eight in the series - two this season. In the last meeting on Jan. 14, Durant and Westbrook combined for 47 of the Thunder's 51 points after halftime in a 102-90 road victory. Durant finished with 41 while Westbrook had 36. Clamping down defensively also shouldn't be a problem for the Thunder, who've won 18 of 19 at home while the Suns have dropped 16 of 19 on the road. Phoenix (17-33) is averaging 91.9 points while cracking triple digits just once over its last 19 games overall, including two losses to Oklahoma City. The Suns sputtered down the stretch in Wednesday's 93-84 loss in New Orleans, scoring 13 fourth-quarter points. "Tough, tough loss for us," said interim coach Lindsey Hunter, who is 4-5 since taking over for Alvin Gentry on Jan. 20. "Not many positives can be taken from the game. Like I said, I am discouraged, but I am still encouraged because I know where we are going to be and I know how we are going to do it." Hunter's vision probably requires better shooting from the perimeter. The Suns were 1 of 15 from 3-point range Wednesday and are shooting 25.0 percent from beyond the arc in their last six games. Center Marcin Gortat has been on target, though, hitting 15 of 20 from the field in his last two contests. He has also posted a pair of double-doubles against the Thunder this season, averaging 15.5 points and 12.5 rebounds.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Matt Forte confirms he won’t be returning to Bears

Cardinals GM: ‘No doubt’ team wants Mathieu as fixture

Charles Barkley on Stephen Curry: ‘He’s just a great shooter’

Louisiana governor warns that LSU football could be cut

Report: People with Warriors think they will get Durant

Joe Thomas: It’s a ‘sad end’ to Manziel story in Cleveland

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

DeMar DeRozan: It will be ‘pretty tough’ for me to leave Raptors

Super Bowl referee says Cotchery play could have been a catch

The NBA is one step closer to putting ads on jerseys

Archie Manning defends Cam Newton over press conference

Dwight Howard: ‘I have not asked the Rockets to trade me’

Nazem Kadri fined $5,000 for throat-slashing gesture

26% of Denver students skipped school for Broncos parade

Eight surprises, letdowns entering NBA All-Star break

Chris Harris: Von Miller should get paid more than JJ Watt

4 likeliest Dwight Howard trade scenarios

On Kobe Bryant and taking greatness for granted

Penn State the latest to offer generic football jerseys for sale

Gary Bettman praises the NHL’s new website and app (which are currently awful)

Bucks need to choose between wins, development

NBA to weigh adding advertisements to jerseys

ESPN, Stephen A. Smith and Little League International sued by parents of Jackie Robinson West

Kobe Bryant shoots down notion he wants All-Star MVP record

Justin Tuck will sign one-day contract to retire with Giants

Ronda Rousey returns to training

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

On Kobe Bryant and taking greatness for granted

Bucks need to choose between wins, development

Fantasy booking WrestleMania 32

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

QUIZ: Name the winners of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

The NCAAB power rankings

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker