What happened here Sunday night caused quite the buzz Monday.
And why not?
While there have been tens of thousands of NBA games over the decades, there has never been one quite like the Thunder's overtime thriller against the Nuggets. Kevin Durant scored 51 points. Russell Westbrook scored 40 points. And Serge Ibaka posted a triple-double that included a whopping 11 blocked shots.
Never before had such stats been posted by one team in one game in the history of the league.
“It was fun for everybody involved — the fans, the players, our staff,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “It was a lot of big performances.”
And all of them were rolled into one grand game.
Twitter and Facebook went bonkers. Ditto for the water coolers and the sports talk. ESPN even stopped the Linsanity long enough to mention it.
Oklahoma City is on top of the basketball world.
Ironic that New Orleans was the team that came to The Peake on Monday night amid the lingering hullabaloo.
This is a team that has won fewer games this season than Oklahoma City has won this month. This is a franchise struggling almost as much in the front office as it is on the court. This is a bunch that our fair city once clamored to keep.
Ever heard the saying that sometimes the best gifts are unanswered prayers?
It's not just that the Hornets looked as bad as their record in a 101-93 loss to the Thunder.
It's more than that. Yes, Chris Paul is gone. Ditto for David West and Tyson Chandler. The fact that the Hornets made things interesting Monday with guys like Jarrett Jack, Al-Farouq Aminu and Greivis Vasquez was more about the Thunder letting up after leading by 26 points.
But the truth is, the Hornets are just as much of a train wreck off the court as they are on it.
Since returning to New Orleans, the Hornets have had one calamity after another. Bad finances. Bad attendance. Bad management. Things eventually got so horrendous that the NBA purchased the franchise in late 2010.
That hasn't exactly helped matters.
The league's ties to the team caused a firestorm when NBA commissioner David Stern voided a trade that would've sent Paul to the Lakers. Eventually, the superstar point guard was traded to the Clippers, but the Hornets ended up with less than they would've gotten in the first deal.
Now, they have a chance to head into the All-Star Break with one of the worst records in the league, second only to Charlotte.
I'll be the first to admit — I wanted the Hornets to stay as much as anyone in the 405 area code. They were winning. They were exciting. And frankly, they were here.
It was difficult to imagine when or how or even if another NBA franchise would ever come our way. The league wasn't looking to expand back in 2007, and the most of the existing franchises didn't seem to be heading anywhere.
Of course, the Sonics ran into ownership troubles and arena troubles and civic troubles, and the rest is history.
Bully for us.
Oklahoma City should thank its lucky stars that the NBA sent the Hornets back to New Orleans. We didn't want them to go, and the Hornets didn't want to go either, but you have to shudder to think where Oklahoma City would be right now had they stayed.
The truth is, Oklahoma City turned a blind eye to the Hornets' troubles during the two seasons they were here. They were an ill-managed franchise even then.
I mean, we loved George Shinn because of his crazy-uncle antics. You never knew what he was going to say, but you always figured it might be something that would tick off the folks at NBA headquarters.
But there were signs that the lunacy was more than Wacky Uncle George.
Remember, the Hornets gave Peja Stojakovic a five-year, $64 million contract on the first day of the free-agent signing period in 2006. Peja Stojakovic, who had been injury prone throughout his career. Peja Stojakovic, who wasn't worth $14 million a year even if he'd hadn't been injury prone.
The mismanagement has continued since the Hornets went back to New Orleans. Granted, this was a franchise hindered by Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill and every other catastrophe that has struck New Orleans in the past few years.
But those disasters can't explain away all of the bad choices that the Hornets have made.
In January, for example, general manager Dell Demps — the man with the toughest job in basketball; his bosses are his competitors — wanted to give more playing time to the team's young big men. So, the team asked recently acquired center Chris Kaman to stay away from the team because it wanted to try to trade him.
Kaman, long known as a team player, obliged the Hornets. But then a week later, the Hornets asked him to come back.
They had a rash of injuries and needed bodies.
Who ever heard of such madness?
Oklahoma City will be forever grateful to the Hornets for what they did here. They gave the city a chance to prove itself worthy of an NBA team. They opened their arms to us just as widely as we did to them.
But still, less than 24 hours after one of Oklahoma City's brightest moments as an NBA city, the Hornets are a reminder of what could've been — and a reminder to be thankful for what is.