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Thunder Exterminate the Hornets

Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images

Oklahoma City struggled early in the first half against a less talented Hornets team. The Hornets jumped up 8-0 on the Thunder before OKC would get on the board. Hornets led by as many as 10 points before OKC finally turned it on, and pressed for the lead in the ball game.

Kevin Durant finished with 29 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks. Russell Westbrook had 22 points and seven assists, and James Harden added 14 points for Oklahoma City, which won its fifth in a row and is tied with the Bulls for the best record in the league at 10-2.

Durant almost singlehandedly led Oklahoma to a big lead in the third quarter. After knocking down a midrange jumper, he scored on a layup, a free throw and a pair of 3-pointers. On the second 3, he was wide open at the top of the key and buried the shot off a pass from Westbrook, giving the Thunder a 69-57 lead and forcing the Hornets to call a timeout.

Oklahoma City would lead 73-70 after the end of the third quarter. The Hornets pulled within four early in the fourth, but never threatened after that. New Orleans would score only 15 points, as one of the worst offenses in the NBA struggled to find shots in the fourth. Oklahoma City would pull away with the 95-85 victory. Pushing the Thunder to the 10-2 record. New Orleans dropped to 3-7 on the season.

Post season grades

Score Points: B
Oklahoma City did what they had to, they got to the mid-90’s. New Orleans only scored 15 fourth quarter points, and the offensive ability between the two teams was very evident in the fourth quarter as OKC turned a 3 point end of third quarter lead into a 10 point ball game win.

REBOUND, REBOUND, REBOUND: F
Oklahoma City couldn’t rebound well all night. New Orleans had a lot of second chance points and I feel it’s a reason it was even a ball game. I think it’s something we need to just get used to because the lack of blocking out is not going away.

Bench Play: B
Thunder outscored the Hornets bench 37-34. It wasn’t that big of a difference. However, Oklahoma City could have really put this game away if they could have limited the second team in scoring. Luckily wasn’t a big influence on the game.

Game thoughts

  • Durant had his third straight double-double
  • Durant’s four block is a team high this season.
  • It was only the third time this season OKC trailed after the first quarter. Previous games were home against Dallas and at Minnesota.
  • Russell Westbrook had 15 of his 22 points in the second half to help push the Thunder to the victory.
  • Westbrook had just two turnovers tonight. He had 25 in his first four games this season. The next eight games? He’s had just 19 turnovers.
  • Serge Ibaka collected his 24th straight game with a block. Kendrick Perkins is now at 13 straight games with a block.
  • Kevin Durant missed his first three shots of the ball game. He would go on to hit 11 of 14 the rest of the way. What a great player.
  • Since missing the game at Dallas, Daequan Cook is just 4-20 from three point range. If you didn’t know, that’s a rough 20%. He’s a career 37.1% shooter from three-point range, 41% with the Thunder.
  • Thunder only had 11 turnovers. They forced 15 turnovers by the Hornets and turned it into 21 Thunder points.
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