OKC Thunder: Oklahoma City blows past Hornets

THUNDER 100, HORNETS 79 — If the mark of a great team is manhandling a lesser foe, the Oklahoma City Thunder qualified Saturday night in New Orleans.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: December 1, 2012
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photo - Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) shoots over New Orleans Hornets guard Greivis Vasquez (21) in the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) ORG XMIT: LAGH104
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) shoots over New Orleans Hornets guard Greivis Vasquez (21) in the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) ORG XMIT: LAGH104

The Thunder held the Hornets to 37 percent shooting and forced New Orleans into 17 turnovers, which led to 20 OKC points.

“I put a big emphasis on myself to come out every night defending,” Westbrook said. “That's what I've been trying to do all season long.”

The Thunder improved to 14-4 after winning for the eighth time in the past nine games. Over those eight victories, the Thunder has won by an average margin of 17.3 points.

“As a team,” Westbrook said, “we're doing a better job of not focusing on who we're playing but focusing on ourselves and trying to find ways where we can get better.”

The Thunder led 54-44 at halftime, paced by Kevin Durant's 13 points. Kendrick Perkins and Kevin Martin added 10 apiece in the first half. Oklahoma City led by as many as 18 on three occasions in the second quarter, but this time the Hornets hung in longer than they did last time.

The Thunder, however, clamped down in the third quarter and outscored New Orleans 30-13 to pull away.

With the win, the Thunder moved to 5-0 in the second night of back-to-back games this season.

“We talked about it before the game. These games are really tests for us,” Collison said. “These are where we can really grow. When you're on a back-to-back and you're tired it's easy to give in but the good teams are able to fight that off mentally. We've been up and down the last couple of years with that. The season's young. But so far our focus has been a lot better.”


by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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