The Oklahoma City Thunder beat the New Orleans Hornets for the third time this season 92-88 last night at Chesapeake Arena.
The Thunder improve to 18-4 on the year while the Hornets fall to 5-16.
The Hornets led for most of the game as the Thunder really struggled from the field shooting just 43.7 percent for the game and 30.6 percent in the first half.
The Thunder kept it close enough by the time the fourth quarter came around closed out the Hornets with relative ease in this close contest.
OKC made just 5-of-15 threes in the game and also uncharacteristically missed seven free throws. New Orleans had 13 offensive rebounds and just 10 turnovers to help them keep this game close.
Here are the Game Grades:
Kevin Durant – 44 minutes, 35 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists – A
Durant was needed to play a lot of minutes in this one including the entire second half. He had 25 points in the last two quarters as he made the big plays down the stretch to close out these Hornets. The game never felt as much in question as the scoreboard reflected because Durant was so cool in the final minutes.
Russell Westbrook – 37 minutes, 14 points, 9 assists, 4 rebounds – C
Westbrook has really struggled from the field against the Hornets this season which is surprising since he is mostly matched up with Greivis Vasquez. He went 4-for-14 last night but did make a few big shots. He only had two turnovers but didn’t have the same crazy impact on defense that he did the last time the Thunder played the Hornets.
Serge Ibaka – 23 minutes, 7 points, 6 rebounds, 3 blocks – C
Ibaka didn’t get many minutes last night as head coach Scott Brooks went with Nick Collison instead in the second half. So it wasn’t a big night for Ibaka who went 3-of-7 from the field and lost the ball a few times trying to drive to the basket.
Kevin Martin – 31 minutes, 17 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist – B
Martin wasn’t hot or anything last night but considering what the rest of the Thunder players were doing, he was shooting pretty well. He made 5-of-12 from the field, 2-of-5 threes and all five free throw attempts. The Thunder bench outplayed New Orleans’ with Martin leading the way with a plus-14 plus-minus in the game.
Kendrick Perkins – 24 minutes, 6 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists – C+
Perkins also got less minutes last night as the Thunder played small and didn’t really need him. Six points is actually a bonus for Perkins so it wasn’t all bad last night. OKC was minus-9 when he was in.
Thabo Sefolosha – 24 minutes, 2 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks – B
Where has the hot shooting of Sefolosha gone? He was making seemingly every three he took earlier in the year and has since really cooled off. Last night he went 0-of-3 from distance which led Brooks to go with more minutes for Eric Maynor and Reggie Jackson.
Nick Collison – 26 minutes, 6 points, 5 rebounds, 1 steal – B
Collison got the call at center with a small Thunder lineup for much of the second half. The rim protection wasn’t the same but he did the other things that helped OKC win the game like performing well in the pick-and-roll and getting in great defensive position.
Eric Maynor – 14 minutes, 0 points, 4 assists, 3 steals – B
Maynor only took one shot and missed it last night. He got a little extra run instead of Sefolosha returning earlier from the bench. The Hornets played a small lineup with Vasquez, Austin Rivers and Brian Roberts in so that’s probably why Maynor got more run.
Hasheem Thabeet – 6 minutes, 0 points, 2 rebounds, 1 block – C
Thabeet picked up two quick fouls and only played in the first half. He didn’t have much of an opportunity to make an impact.
Reggie Jackson – 11 minutes, 5 points, 2 rebounds, 1 block – A
Jackson came in late in the third quarter as Brooks was looking for a spark off the bench. Jackson fulfilled that duty perfectly knocking down a three and scoring a layup as well. He definitely lifted the team with his presence and it was just what the Thunder needed to ensure a victory.