Oklahoma City Thunder: Kevin Durant, Kevin Martin score 27 points in OKC's win over Hornets
Kevin Durant and Kevin Martin each scored 27 points, and the Oklahoma City Thunder rolled to their sixth victory in seven games, 110-95 over the New Orleans Hornets on Friday night.
NEW ORLEANS — Russell Westbrook refuses to get down on himself while his shot's not falling.
Then again, you should know enough about Westbrook by now to know that never would have been a possibility in the first place.
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And so as he continues to be mired in one of the worst shooting slumps he's ever experienced at the start of a season, Westbrook is finding other ways to help his team. On Friday night, in the Thunder's 110-95 victory at New Orleans, that's exactly what he did.
Westbrook scored 10 points and dished a game-high 12 assists in 28 minutes against the Hornets. But the most impressive, and most impactful, contribution Westbrook made was something that couldn't quite be measured statistically. It was his non-stop ball pressure on the opposing backcourt.
By hounding Hornets point guard Greivis Vasquez and backup Brian Roberts, often times the entire length of the court, Westbrook took New Orleans completely out of any offensive rhythm. As a result, the Hornets fell into an early hole that only grew deeper as the game went on while they struggled to generate offense.
“He didn't shoot the ball well, but it was one of his better games on both ends of the floor,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks of Westbrook. “He was disruptive. When he plays like that, he puts a lot of pressure on the opponent, puts a lot of pressure on the team and their point guard to run the offense. I thought his effort and intensity was the highest I've ever seen.”
The Thunder jumped to an 11-2 lead in the first three minutes thanks to a defensive effort that became the theme all period. New Orleans scored on consecutive possessions just once in the opening quarter. That allowed OKC to build a 20-point lead and take an 18-point cushion into the second quarter.
It only got worse, as the Thunder pushed its lead to 30 points in the second quarter and 34 early in the third before finally calling off the dogs and sitting the starters for the duration of the fourth.
Vasquez, who entered the game averaging 12.3 points, a team-leading 8.8 assists and 4.2 rebounds, was held to seven points, seven assists and two rebounds while shooting 2 of 6 from the field.
“He dominated the game,” said Kevin Durant of Westbrook. “He took Greivis out the game. He took Roberts out the game. And he controlled the game on offense as well by just getting everybody in their spots and passing the ball. He had a great game tonight.”