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OKC Thunder: Five takeaways from loss to Suns

A depleted Thunder team fell to the Suns 128-101 Monday afternoon. 

Here are five takeaways from the game: 

Booker stays hot

Suns star Devin Booker continued his spectacular play in the bubble. 

Booker led all scorers with 35 points, and he did substantial damage at the free throw line, converting 14-of-14 attempts. 

Thunder stopper Luguentz Dort struggled with early foul trouble, and Booker consistently drew calls at the expense of Hamidou Diallo and Abdel Nader. 

Playing shorthanded

The Thunder was without three starters and five of its top six scorers against the Suns. 

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari, Steven Adams and Nerlens Noel were all out with minor injuries. Dennis Schroder is still away from the team for the birth of his second child. 

It was an understandable day to rest, as the Thunder was on the second end of a back-to-back and its third game in four days. 

After a surprising 37-point first quarter, the Thunder's offense fell flat due to the lack of depth. The Thunder shot just 4-of-24 from the field in the third quarter. 

Paul plays

Chris Paul decided not to rest Monday. 

The veteran point guard led a makeshift starting lineup of Dort, Nader, Darius Bazley and Mike Muscala. 

Paul was the only point guard available, and the Thunder was plagued by careless turnovers whenever he sat. 

Paul finished with 14 points, seven assists and five rebounds. 

Bazley impresses in back-to-back

Bazley followed a career-high 23 points Sunday with 22 more on Monday. 

The Thunder rookie earned his ninth career start as Gallinari sat. 

Bazley hauled in 10 rebounds to record his first career double double. 

Ayton arrives late 

Suns center Deandre Ayton wasn’t in the starting lineup Monday as it was reported that Ayton missed his COVID-19 testing window on Sunday. 

The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported minutes before tip-off that Ayton had been cleared to play and was en route to the arena. 

Ayton started the second quarter and had his way with the Thunder’s weakened front court. 

He notched 10 points and six rebounds in just 17 minutes. 

Related Photos
Aug 10, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA;  Mike Muscala #33 of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Dario Saric #20 of the Phoenix Suns go up for the tip off during a NBA basketball game at The Field House. Mandatory Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Aug 10, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Mike Muscala #33 of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Dario Saric #20 of the Phoenix Suns go up for the tip off during a NBA basketball game at The Field House. Mandatory Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-1a2df43487e76bc56c3781e7181abab0.jpg" alt="Photo - Aug 10, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Mike Muscala #33 of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Dario Saric #20 of the Phoenix Suns go up for the tip off during a NBA basketball game at The Field House. Mandatory Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports" title="Aug 10, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Mike Muscala #33 of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Dario Saric #20 of the Phoenix Suns go up for the tip off during a NBA basketball game at The Field House. Mandatory Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports"><figcaption>Aug 10, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Mike Muscala #33 of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Dario Saric #20 of the Phoenix Suns go up for the tip off during a NBA basketball game at The Field House. Mandatory Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports</figcaption></figure>
Joe Mussatto

Joe Mussatto joined The Oklahoman in August 2018 to cover OU football, men’s basketball and softball. He previously covered University of Kentucky football and basketball for SEC Country. Mussatto is from Oklahoma City and lives in Norman. Read more ›

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