Despite treacherous conditions from Tuesday's blizzard, an estimated crowd of 13,000 watched the Thunder defeat New Orleans 104-93 inside Oklahoma City Arena on Wednesday night.
Official attendance was 17,849, snapping a streak of 12 straight sellouts.
NO EASY TRIP
The Hornets landed in Oklahoma City around 1 a.m. Wednesday.
When the first team bus got stuck and the team had to switch to another bus, Chris Paul and Trevor Ariza threw snowballs at coach Monty Williams, who lightheartedly said he has yet to determine the players' fines.
The team arrived at the Skirvin Hotel at roughly 2 a.m.
It was the only flight to land at Will Rogers World Airport, which was closed for 20 hours due to weather. En route from New Orleans, pilots were said to have battled a 200 mile-per-hour crosswinds and ground gusts of 40 mph.
Thunder guard Thabo Sefolosha sat out Wednesday and missed his third straight start with a sprained left knee. His status remains day-to-day.
"He felt much better. He's getting close," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "He did more court work today and did more stuff, but the pain is still there."
Next up for the Thunder is a game at Phoenix on Friday, followed by a game at Utah on Saturday.
Wednesday's victory was particularly big because it gives the Thunder (31-17) the tiebreaker over the Hornets (32-19) if needed for playoff seeding. The Thunder won the regular-season series 3-1.
"They're going to be a tough team to beat (in the playoffs)," Brooks said. "They've got a lot of skilled players, one of the best defensive players in the league (Emeka Okafor injured on Sunday).
"We just wanted to play better on our home floor. We wanted to bounce back with a win. We've been pretty resilient after a loss and tonight was another step in that direction and never feeling sorry for yourself after a loss."
MAYNOR HOLDS STEADY
Reserve point guard Eric Maynor had nine points (3 for 5 from the field) and three assists in 21 minutes, including a stretch of 12 straight minutes after starter Russell Westbrook sat with four fouls with 7:52 left in the third quarter.
"He really stepped up, controlled the game and found our shooters," Brooks said of Maynor. "I have confidence in Eric. He's a heady point guard. He's improving. That's not always easy, guarding Paul.