When the Thunder played last Wednesday night at Washington, it had the NBA's best record at 12-2 and lost to the team with the league's worst record in the 1-12 Wizards.
When the Thunder played this Wednesday night at home against New Orleans, it had the Western Conference's best record at 14-3 and was on the verge of losing to the conference's worst record in the 3-14 Hornets.
OKC managed to regain its focus before another sellout crowd of 18,203 inside Chesapeake Energy Arena and escaped with a 101-91 victory over New Orleans, which has now lost nine straight.
Before the contest, Thunder coach Scott Brooks insisted his team had learned its lesson one week prior at Washington, D.C. and had cautioned his team to pay heed.
"You can't overlook," Brooks said of the Hornets. "Their record is obviously not where they want it to be. They've been in every game."
New Orleans had lost its previous three games by two points each.
Brooks did what coaches frequently do and proclaimed that the inferior opponent his team was about to face was much better than its record.
Told of Brooks' pregame remarks, well-humored Hornets coach Monty Williams smiled and said: "Scott's trying to use one of those coaching ploys. It's like pseudo-Knute Rockne. He's just being gracious. We've made a ton of mistakes. Down the stretch we haven't executed. We've had lulls after halftime. Changes in lineups, injuries, you name it we've had it in 17 games.
"He (Brooks) is just being nice. He's trying to motivate his guys. Tell him to cut it out. Scott's just being Scott."
Not to be outdone, Williams certainly didn't hold anything back while praising OKC, which has now won 10 of its last 11.
"That's a recipe for a championship when you have that many talented players who know their role," Williams said of the Thunder. "You have to play a perfect game against them to win.
"They score enough. They defend enough. They're well-coached. They run. And they're probably the best team in the league right now, in my opinion, because they play together all the time."
Wednesday's opponents might be polar opposites in the West at 15-3 and 3-15, but the Hornets didn't flinch after trailing by as many as 14 in the second quarter.
"Again, I thought our guys were committed to fighting tonight," Williams said. "They could have given up in the first half."
The Thunder seemed in control, and yet not completely. New Orleans never led in the contest, yet trailed only 85-83 with 8 1/2 minutes remaining.
OKC obliged the Hornets by committing 21 turnovers resulting in 21 points for New Orleans.
The Hornets got a lift from their bench, which outscored the heralded Thunder reserves 49-40, although OKC sixth man James Harden had 18 points on just five shots from the field, going 4 for 5 from the floor and 9 for 10 from the free-throw line while also handing out a game-high six assists.
OKC was led by Kevin Durant, who shot 9 for 13 from the field and 7 for 7 from the free-throw line to finish with 25 points. He also had seven rebounds, four assists, three blocked shots and two steals.
"These guys always play hard," Durant said of the Hornets.