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.