for this game

OKC, Suns meet in quest of eighth playoff spot

Mar 29, 2015 - 2:32 PM ( - The Oklahoma City Thunder are sputtering a bit, but they'll get a close look at one of the teams chasing them Sunday night when they visit the Phoenix Suns.

OKC has lost two in a row, but is 2 1/2 games in front of the New Orleans Pelicans for the eighth and final postseason berth in the Western Conference.

Time is running out for the Suns. They trail the Thunder by three games. New Orleans hosts the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday.

The Thunder, who have been fighting for a playoff spot without Kevin Durant or Serge Ibaka, but, with MVP candidate Russell Westbrook, dropped the first two legs of their three-game road trip.

On Wednesday, Oklahoma City got trounced by 39 at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs, then fell to the Utah Jazz on Saturday, 94-89.

The Thunder held a 16-point lead over the Jazz at one point, but were outscored by seven over the second half, despite the fact that Utah played Friday night.

"We just weren't ready to play," Westbrook said.

Westbrook had 37 points, eight rebounds and six assists to lead Oklahoma City and Enes Kanter collected 18 points and 11 boards against his former team. Anthony Morrow scored 12 off the bench.

The Thunder played for the first time since announcing Friday that reigning NBA MVP Durant would miss the rest of the season to have a bone graft procedure on his injured foot that will keep him sidelined up to six months.

Kanter faced the Jazz for the first time since he was dealt in a three-team trade last month and after he had some negative things to say about playing in Utah.

The Jazz, after trailing by 16 in the first half, held the Thunder under 24 percent shooting in the third quarter and took the lead for good with a 6-0 burst capped by Hayward's free throw after Kanter was called for a technical foul.

Phoenix has lost two straight, both at home. First, the Suns fell to the Sacramento Kings, then, on Friday night, they lost to the Portland Trail Blazers, 87-81.

Marcus Morris paced the Suns with 19 points and 12 rebounds, while brother Markieff had 15 points and nine rebounds in the loss.

Eric Bledsoe's free throw gave the Suns a 74-70 lead with under six minutes left in the game, then Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge got going and helped Portland take control.

Aldridge followed Bledsoe's make with a layup that kicked off a 15-2 run. He scored the final 10 points of the late surge that put the Blazers up 85-76 with 1:04 remaining.

"We had several opportunities, but they weren't able to convert. Credit to Aldridge," said Suns coach Jeff Hornacek.

Things don't get any easier for the Suns who travel to Portland and Golden State during the upcoming week.

The Suns have won three of the last five meetings, but OKC owns a 13-3 mark in recent history. All three of Phoenix's victories in this recent series came in the last three games in Arizona.