Kevin Durant recorded his third career triple-double that helped power the Oklahoma City Thunder over the New Orleans Hornets 119-74 on Wednesday night.
Durant’s 18-point, 11-rebound and 10-assist game, coupled with Russell Westbrook’s 29 points helped the Thunder to not only sweet the Hornets (4-0 against New Orleans this season) but also to close out a perfect three-game homestand at Chesapeake Arena.
The Hornets’ were short-staffed against Oklahoma City, as starters Anthony Davis (shoulder) and Eric Gordon (knee) are out with injury. Ryan Anderson started in place of Davis and led the team with 14 points, but aside from his effort, none of the Hornets could put any kind of a fight to temper OKC’s assault.
Oklahoma City got to work early against the Hornets, putting up 16 of his 29 points in the first 10 minutes of the game. He and Serge Ibaka exploded early in this game, scoring all but a pair of the Thunder’s first 26 points and teaming up for an 8-0 run. From there, Oklahoma City kept on rolling to a 36-22 lead after Kevin Martin knocked down a 16-footer in the first two minutes of the second quarter.
The Thunder never trailed and continued to pull away after a cranking up their defense late in the first half. New Orleans started out 18 for 36 from the field and even got the score within 48-43 at one point, but it was all downhill fromt there. The Hornets then sunk only nine of 41 shots after that, and they never got back in it.
Oklahoma City on the other hand recorded five blocks in the first four minutes of the second half and it was essentially game over.
With his team up by 23, Durant turned his attention to dishing the rock and got his second triple-double since All-Star Weekend. He had five straight assists in the third quarter, and he set up Westbrook’s two-handed dunk and a jumper by Serge Ibaka. He followed that with a pass to Ibaka for a layup for his ninth assists, turning and grinning to his teammates on the bench. After a timeout, he passed on a shot near the elbow to feed a 3-point attempt to Westbrook, who nailed it and subsequently allowed Durant to complete his triple-double attempt.
Durant then went back into scoring mode and made a 10-foot jumper to put the Thunder up 87-52. After that, he and the rest of the starters came out of the game 4:01 left in the third quarter, and never came back.
New acquisitions Derek Fisher and Ronnie Brewer got to see much playing time because of the huge lead Oklahoma City had secured for itself. Fisher–who signed as a free agent this week after Oklahoma City traded point guard Eric Maynor last week–missed a pair of 3-pointers in the first half. Brewer–who came by way of a trade with the New York Knicks– played the entire fourth quarter along with Fisher and helped grow the lead to as much as 43.
The margin of victory matched the largest of the season for Oklahoma City and was also the biggest blowout the Hornets have suffered this season. It also marked the first back-to-back blowouts by at least 30 points by the Thunder franchise since 1994, as they beat the Chicago Bulls 102-72 on Sunday.
With the win, Oklahoma City advances to 42-15 on the season, and will face the Denver Nuggets next on Friday, Mar. 1.