Thunder blow past Hornets, 100-79
Posted at: 12/01/2012 11:05 PM
By BRETT MARTEL
(AP) NEW ORLEANS - Kevin Durant scored 20 points, Russell Westbrook added 18 points and 10 assists, and the Oklahoma City Thunder won their fifth straight game, 100-79 over the struggling New Orleans Hornets on Saturday night.
The two Thunder stars did all their work in first three quarters, resting for the final period after helping their club build a 27-point lead.
Kevin Martin added 19 points and Nick Collison 12 in reserve roles for Oklahoma City, which has won nine of 10, including its last four by double digits.
Ryan Anderson had 21 points and 10 rebounds for New Orleans, but was only 3 of 11 on 3-point attempts, normally his strength. Robin Lopez added 12 points and Roger Mason Jr. 11 for the Hornets, who have lost nine of 10.
Oklahoma City outshot the Hornets 50.6 percent (40 of 79) to 37 percent (30 of 81) and outscored New Orleans inside 52-34. The Thunder pushed the pace at every chance until the game was out of reach, scoring 18 fast-break points to the Hornets’ 4.
Playing without top overall pick Anthony Davis (left ankle) for a seventh straight game, the Hornets tried in vain to keep pace by shooting frequently from long range, which backfired. New Orleans finished 6 of 24 from 3-point range.
Oklahoma City took control early in the second quarter with an 11-0 run that included Durant’s 3 and his two-handed dunk on a drive down the left side of the lane. The surge made it 41-23, and the Hornets never got closer than 10 points again.
Anderson, among the NBA leaders in made 3s coming in, struggled to find his range, missing his first six from deep before finally hitting his seventh to pull New Orleans to 54-44 at halftime.
Durant then opened the second half with his second 3 of the game and Westbrook continued to dominate, tossing up an alley-oop lob to Durant in between his own jumper and mid-range fade.
Westbrook, who also had three steals, capped his night in the final moments of the third quarter by converting a fast-break layup and draining a 27-footer at the horn to give Oklahoma City a whopping 84-57 lead heading into the final period.
That allowed Thunder coach Scott Brooks to empty his bench in the fourth quarter and give his stars a well-deserved rest in what served as a dominant encore to a 12-point victory over Utah a night earlier.
Notes: Oklahoma City has won its last four games by an average margin of 25 points. ... The Hornets lost the teams’ first meeting this season 110-95 in New Orleans on Nov. 16. The teams will meet twice more in Oklahoma City on Dec. 12 and Feb. 27. ... The crowd included actors Steve Zahn and Wendell Pierce, stars of the New Orleans-based HBO series "Treme." ... Oklahoma City improved to 5-0 in the second of back-to-back games this season. ... Hornets reserve PG Brian Roberts played despite feeling ill earlier in the day, finishing with eight points on 3-of-5 shooting to go with an assist and a rebound.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)