Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Once again, it was the role players who stepped up for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Alex Abrines scored a career high 25 points on five 3-pointers and Dennis Schröder scored 21 himself as the Thunder erased a 19-point second half deficit to beat the Charlotte Hornets 111-107 on Thursday night.

The Thunder once again climbed out of a big hole as the inconsistencies on offense reader their ugly heads. Oklahoma City only had 44 points at halftime and it appeared they were going down for their fifth loss of the season.

Then, Abrines got hot. As they would say, en fuego. Dude lit it up from three, nailing five treys en route to fueling Oklahoma CIty’s comeback. While Russell Westbrook and Paul George didn’t shoot the lights out on the offensive side, it was the bench that stepped up. Abrines’ previous career high was 20 points, set a couple of times. However, he was a monster all over the court.

“The defense has two options — come in and help and leave me open or stay attached to me and (Westbrook) is going to get layups,” Abrines said. “Sometimes you just stay in the corner and wait for the pass to come.”

Oklahoma City outscored the Hornets 74-51 after they fell back by 19.

“Alex has to be ready to shoot the ball, he’s a shooter and he knows how to play the game of basketball,” Westbrook said.

Russell Westbrook put up 29 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds.

George had a rough night, shooting 4-of-20 from the field, including 0-of-10 from 3-point range, finishing with 11 points. After the game, George revealed he’s been dealing with a peroneal nerve palsy or “dead foot.”

“I am just trying to play through that,” George said. “It’s nothing major or that is going to hurt me. It’s just something that is going to come back when it feels right.”

Westbrook received a technical foul early for screaming “and one” after a driving layup after the foul wasn’t called. He appeared not to like the call very much because on the next possession he split two Charlotte defenders and threw down a dunk.

Oklahoma City now will play the Washington Wizards (1-6) tonight in their first back-to-back of the season. Game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. tip-off. It’ll be broadcast live on ESPN. We’ll have your complete game coverage on social media.

Keys to the Game

Shooting: C

If I could do this in two halves, that would be the best. The first half is an F and the second half is an A+. So, I averaged it out. The Thunder still really struggle from three. Oklahoma City has to figure out this shooting thing. A real test on Friday night with the back-to-back. Hopefully, the Thunder can carry the momentum over.

Free Throws: C

Oklahoma City did their part, I guess on the free throws. Oklahoma City went 21-of-29 from the line. The PG position went 10-of-15 at the line. That seems to be a bit of the issue. Starts and ends with Westbrook. He’s been off the last two seasons. I’d like to see him improve a bit.

Stop fouling: B

Only 21 fouls for the Thunder tonight, their lowest foul total of the season. The 22 free throws by the Hornets is the second lowest of the season. The Thunder may be finding some stuff out in the right time. 22 free throws and 21 fouls would be a winner every night for the Thunder defense.

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Chuck Chaney

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Member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

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