At 7-5 coming in, the Bobcats walked into Chesapeake Energy Arena having matched their win total from last season, when they set the NBA record for the worst winning percentage. But this looked to be a new and improved club. Charlotte had won six of its past eight entering Monday’s game.
It all came crashing down against the Thunder.
Oklahoma City held Charlotte to 29.1 percent shooting, well below the previous opponent low of 35.7 percent. Only one Bobcat, rookie guard Jeffery Taylor, scored at least 10 points.
The Thunder finished with more assists — netting a season-high 31 for the third time this season — than the Bobcats had field goals (23).
A 22-3 run by the Thunder from the 2:55 mark of the first quarter to the 8:20 mark of the second period pushed Oklahoma City’s lead from six to 25. Over that span, the Thunder held the Bobcats to 1-for-9 shooting and four turnovers.
“The key to the runs tonight was the defensive stops,” Brooks said. “We were contesting, we were rebounding and then we were getting out in transition. Those are the recipes for our success.”
Kevin Durant led a season-high tying six Thunder players in double-digit scoring with 18 points. Thabo Sefolosha scored a season-high 14, which included a career-high tying four 3-pointers. Westbrook notched his sixth double-double this season with 12 points and a game-high 11 assists, nine of them coming in the first half. Hasheem Thabeet recorded his first career double-double with 13 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. Kevin Martin and Reggie Jackson added 12 points and 11 points, respectively, off the bench.
Everything after Westbrook’s jam, though, was just gravy.
“We work on that, actually,” Durant said. “At the end of the half we run the play and if I’m not open Russ will just take it. So much attention was drawn on the other side of the floor he took it himself. I didn’t think he was going to dunk it, but the stuff he do never amazes me.”