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Hornets stop the young Thunder

By Darnell Mayberry, Staff Writer, Modified: January 8, 2010 at 10:16 am •  Published: January 7, 2010

Before frustration from Wednesday night leads you to light up talk radio lines or black out message boards today, remember where this Thunder team is.

While playoff chatter has become a pleasant talking point, it’s important to maintain perspective whenever Oklahoma City puts up pathetic performances like it did in the fourth period against New Orleans.

This is a team being built for the long haul and, at times, its youth and inexperience will rear its ugly head. That’s what happened against the Hornets in the Thunder’s 97-92 loss insider the Ford Center, where a terrible final 12 minutes ultimately sent a crowd of 17,836 home dissatisfied and perhaps disgruntled.

And Thunder fans have every right to be disappointed. After going 6-1 in its previous seven games, four of those contests being played on the road, the Thunder returned to Oklahoma City and again showed its home crowd its inconsistency.

This time, the Thunder recorded a season-low for points in the fourth quarter, as New Orleans closed out the home team with an 18-11 period. The Thunder shot just 3-for-14 in the frame, committed four turnovers and, worst of all, mustered two measly shot attempts for star forward Kevin Durant.

Oklahoma City converted just one field goal in the final 8 minutes, 43 seconds.

"Part of our growth is getting better executing in the fourth quarter,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks.

The final two Thunder possessions are what reeked most.

Down three with 11.1 seconds remaining after Hornets guard Chris Paul’s driving layup, Oklahoma City still had a chance to tie it in spite of its sloppiness. Wednesday's box score


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