The Thunder's 92-88 survival mission against New Orleans on Wednesday night looked nothing like its two previous meetings against the Hornets on the road this season.
En route to winning by an average of 18 points the first two games, OKC led by as many as 34 in the first game and 29 in the second. New Orleans' only lead was 2-0 at the outset of the second game.
Wednesday's contest began with the Thunder missing its first six shots and trailing by as many as 11 before eventually pulling out the victory thanks to 34 fourth-quarter points.
Hornets coach Monty Williams said the biggest difference between the first two meetings and Wednesday was his team's attitude.
“It was a lot different,” Williams said. “I thought we competed tonight. I thought we brought an edge. Obviously we lost the game, but when we compete that way and keep our turnovers down, you give yourselves a chance. Guys made big shots. … I thought the guys competed, and that's all I asked. When you're building a team, to find out who you really are you have to go out and play hard. That way we know what we're dealing with and we know where we're going in the future. The competitive edge we had tonight is something we have to have every night.”
The Thunder scored a season-low 17 points in the first quarter and 36 points by intermission, which was a season-low for a half. … OKC is 4-0 this season when Kevin Durant scores 35-plus. He finished with 35 points and nine rebounds Wednesday. … The Thunder shot just 5 for 15 (.333) from 3-point range, but was 1 for 9 at one point before reserve guard Reggie Jackson entered and nailed his first attempt with 40.4 seconds left in the third quarter to pull OKC within 62-58. … Once again, the Thunder was hurt on the offensive boards (13-8) and outscored 21-8 on second-chance points, but OKC did win fast-break points (14-7). … The Hornets shot 40.9 percent (9 for 22) from 3-point range and 39.3 percent (24 for 61) on 2-pointers.
FANS vs. WESTBROOK
Fans of Russell Westbrook, Jason Terry, Hope Solo, Alex Morgan and PK Subban have an opportunity to reserve a spot to play against them in Football Connect, a bingo-style mobile app game, during live NFL games on Sunday and Monday by playing Football Connect during Thursday's NFL game between the Bengals and Eagles.
Not only will participants be playing against these pro athletes, they will be able to chat during the game. In addition, if any athlete wins in their assigned room, $5,000 will be donated to the charity of their choice.
Westbrook will be playing in the Steelers vs. Cowboys room on Sunday at 3:25 p.m.
To qualify for the chance to compete against the stars, players have to win at least 5,000 tokens in Football Connect or be lucky enough to win one of 100 random “Fast Pass” tiles that will appear randomly throughout the contest. The top three winners from all five game rooms will be eligible for prizes.
For more information, visit http://www.1up.me.
New Orleans rookie guard Brian Roberts on the Thunder's fourth-quarter comeback: “That's what a championship caliber team does, they go on runs, especially at home. We braced ourselves for it. We talked about it at halftime, but we just came up a little bit short tonight. … That fourth quarter, giving up 34 points, that's tough. With a team like that, you can't do that.”