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Turnovers doom Thunder in loss to Hornets

With Utah losing, the Oklahoma City Thunder missed a grand opportunity to move within two games of the Jazz for the Northwest Divisional crown as they lost to Charlotte 113-101 on Sunday afternoon.

Oklahoma City trailed by as many as 21 in the game and Oklahoma City never were able to cut it under 11 in the fourth.

The Thunder (43-32) are only one game up on the Grizzzlies for sixth place and are now 31/2 games out of the fourth spot with only six games remaining.

The turnovers were ugly and prevelent for Oklahoma City all game long. They turned it over 24 times, only two off a franchsie record, and the Hornets made the Thunder pay. Charlotte scored 35 points off the Thunder turnovers.

Time after time, when the Thunder would make a run, turnovers would happen in pairs, ending the Thunder’s bid for a comeback.

After Oklahoma City came back from 13 points down in the first half to within five at halftime, the Thunder found themselves with a door slammed on the goal for the first 5:36 of the third quarter. Charlotte beat the pants off Oklahoma City 13-0 over that span. It wasn’t until Westbrook ended the run on a lay up with 6:24 left in the third, that the Thunder closed within 12.

An 8-0 spurt by Oklahoma City, capped by a layup by Andre Roberson, got the Thunder within 102-91 with 4:37 left but a three-point play by Cody Zeller saw the Thunder’s final hopes dashed.

Westbrook finished with 40 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists. It was Westbrook’s 40th triple-double of the season, putting him one behind Oscar Robertson’s NBA record of 41, set during the 1961-62 season. It was Westbrook’s first career triple-double against Charlotte.

This was the first time Charlotte has beaten Oklahoma City at home in the Thunder’s franchise history.

Oklahoma City will now welcome the Milwaukee Bucks into Chesapeake Energy Arena for their second to last home game of the season. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. and it will be an exclusive TV broadcast for ESPN only. We’ll have your game coverage on our social media.

KEYS TO THE GAME

Three-point shooting: B

Oklahoma City was 12-of-31 on the season from deep. It was the fourth most made threes for the Thunder on the season. Westbrook nailed 7-of-15. The rest of the squad was an abysmal 5-of-16. They need more than only Westbrook hitting threes.

Free throws: F

The Thunder missed only one free throw all night. Which, normall is a good thing. However, Oklahoma City was only 11-of-12, their fourth lowest free thow attempts all season. That’s where the F comes in. You have to get attempts to get your makes.

Take care of the ball: F

This is enough to do the Thunder end. The seocnd most turnovers in Thunder history, 24, and the Hornets thrived. They scored 35 points on the Thunder’s turnovers. Oklahoma City couldn’t limit Charlotte all night when they turned it over and that’s really the decider of the game.

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