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AP: 51a451ef-4afc-4aa6-b9af-6b109b8ca823
Oklahoma City Thunder center Hasheem Thabeet (34) blocks a shot by Phoenix Suns center Jermaine O'Neal (20) in the second quarter of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Monday, Dec. 31, 2012. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Sure, you could read the box score and know who won, but we all know that won't tell you everything that happened in a basketball game. So, we will give you Suns Strokes, providing you with the analysis, quotes and notes from the Suns' 114-96 loss to the Thunder on December 31.

The Good:

Coming in losers of five straight, the Phoenix Suns could have laid down against Monday's superior opponent, the Oklahoma City Thunder, but they didn't despite what the final outcome might suggest.

It doesn't count for much in the standings (11-21), but Phoenix did everything it could to make up for its lack of talent, nine-man rotation and yet another starting lineup adjustment.

In the end, it wasn't enough, as they fell by 18 to the Thunder.

Even in defeat, the Suns' collective defensive effort (P.J. Tucker and Jared Dudley) on Kevin Durant was commendable Monday night. The league's reigning scoring champ scored 30 points but did so on 24 shots.

Luis Scola picked up right where he left off in Minnesota. The first-year Sun lead the team in scoring Monday with 24 points on 10-of-17 shooting.

The Bad:

Despite staying close with the Thunder for most of the night, the Suns head back to Phoenix with little more than a moral victory and a six-game losing streak to show for themselves. To make matters worse, they dropped 2-15 on the road in 2012-13.

The Suns hung in tough Monday against the reigning Western Conference champions, but it's hard to win on the road forcing just five turnovers.

Shannon Brown was relegated back to the bench against the Thunder, but the move didn't seem to provide a spark for the shooting guard. Brown finished with 0 points on 0-of-3 shooting.

Noted:

The Suns have now had six different starting lineups in 32 games.

Phoenix has lost seven straight to Oklahoma City dating back to February 2011.

The Thunder led 84-78 heading to the fourth quarter, which has all but guaranteed victory for Scott Brooks' team this season. Oklahoma City is 21-0 this season when leading after three quarters.

Alvin Gentry's squad dropped to 10 games below .500 Monday, a feat which the club hadn't reached since the final day of the 2003-04 season. That season, the Suns finished 29-53.

Up Next:

The Suns will return home to take on the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday. The game is scheduled to tip-off at 7:00 p.m. MST.

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