Thunder coach Scott Brooks admitted he had no idea what to expect in terms of energy from his team Monday night against the visiting New Orleans Hornets.
OKC had survived 124-118 in overtime at home the night before against Denver, thanks to a career-high 51 points from Kevin Durant, 40 points from Russell Westbrook and a triple-double from Serge Ibaka of 15 rebounds, 14 points and 11 blocked shots.
In addition, sixth man James Harden was in street clothes Monday with an ankle injury, reserve forward Nick Collison was out with an injured quad and the Hornets were riding a three-game winning streak.
The Thunder had plenty of early energy, cruising to a 31-18 lead after the first quarter and a 60-38 advantage at halftime. Though the lead was stretched to 26 early in the third quarter, the second half wasn't nearly as energized as the Thunder was outscored 55-41, but still managed to survive with a 101-93 victory.
"I thought that team (OKC) just took it to us at the jump," New Orleans coach Monty Williams said.
The Thunder now owns a 10-game winning streak at Chesapeake Energy Arena, where it is 13-1 on the season.
OKC is 25-7 overall and tied with Miami for the best record in the NBA.
Thunder starting center Kendrick Perkins, still recovering from an injured knee at Houston last Wednesday, had an interesting stat line against New Orleans, tying a season-high with 13 rebounds, six blocked shots (one short of a career-high), five points and three assists, but he also six turnovers and one technical foul.
No complaints from Brooks, however.
"One thing about Perk, he always gives us the best that he can," Brooks said. "Every time he comes in he gives us good effort. He didn't play well (Sunday) night. A lot to do with it is he was banged up. I admire guys who play banged up. You never play injured, but you always play banged up."
Perkins now has 10 technicals on the season, even with having one rescinded. Players will serve a one-game suspension when they get their 13th and every other technical thereafter.
Thunder reserve center Cole Aldrich played 19 minutes, had three rebounds and two blocks. He also had one steal, which happened near midcourt, but Aldrich promptly threw the ball away when he tried to start a fast break the opposite direction.
Perkins later threw the ball away while trying to do the same.
"I think we'll keep with Russell (at point guard)," Aldrich said with a smile. "We all saw (what happened) when all our big guys tried to play point today."
Monday marked the first time the Thunder has ever played home games on back-to-back nights, and it will happen again Wednesday and Thursday when OKC plays back-to-back against Boston (6 p.m.) and the Los Angeles Lakers (8:30 p.m.) at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
The New Orleans Hornets, who played at the Ford Center for two seasons (2005-07), had one home back-to-back against Memphis and San Antonio on Dec. 22-23, 2006.
Denver coach George Karl on Durant: "I've never seen a guy who, when he shoots it, I'm calling timeout before the ball gets to the basket."
With Sunday night's victory over Denver, the Thunder is 2-0 in overtime games this season and 10-2 the past two seasons. Last year, OKC became just the fifth team in NBA history to win eight overtime games in a single season. OKC set an all-time franchise record by winning five straight overtime games to start the 2010-11 season.
Boston point guard Rajon Rondo has been suspended for two games for throwing a ball at an official and striking him in the chest during Sunday's loss at Detroit and will miss Wednesday night's game in OKC.
Celtics center Kevin Garnett missed his second straight game to attend to a family matter, but is expected to be back to face the Thunder.
Heading into Monday night's game, Durant and Westbrook combined to score 50.8 of the team's 102.3 points per game, or 49.7 percent. In the last two games, Durant and Westbrook have combined to score 153 of the team's 225 points, or 68.0 percent. … After a foul was called with 31.5 seconds left in the first half, Ibaka kicked the basketball a few times off his foot and then headed the ball to an official. … Ibaka added another three blocks Monday, giving him 38 in the last seven games (5.4 average). … OKC once again was hurt by second-chance points as the Hornets outscored the Thunder 23-11 thanks to 16 offensive rebounds.
Durant was named Western Conference player of the week for games spanning last Monday through Sunday. Miami's LeBron James was named in the Eastern Conference.
Durant helped OKC to a 3-1 week, averaged 32.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, shot 58.5 percent from the field, 91.7 percent from the free-throw line and 58.8 percent from 3-point range.
Westbrook and Ibaka also were nominated for the award.
WESTBROOK IN SKILLS CHALLENGE
Westbrook will compete in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge against defending champion Stephen Curry of Golden State, rookie Kyrie Irving of Cleveland, Tony Parker of San Antonio, John Wall of Washington and Deron Williams of New Jersey. The challenge will take place Feb. 25 at Amway Center in Orlando.
Curry won last year's challenge with a final-round time of 28.2 seconds to beat Westbrook.