Oklahoman Modified: November 22, 2008 at 9:10 am •  Published: November 22, 2008
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photo - Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant dunks the ball past Rasual Butler, left, James Posey, and Julian Wright of New Orleans during the NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the New Orleans Hornets at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City on Friday, Nov. 21, 2008.   BY BRYAN TERRY, THE OKLAHOMAN
Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant dunks the ball past Rasual Butler, left, James Posey, and Julian Wright of New Orleans during the NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the New Orleans Hornets at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City on Friday, Nov. 21, 2008. BY BRYAN TERRY, THE OKLAHOMAN

Elite player

Thunder coach P.J. Carlesimo said Chris Paul is one of the most difficult defensive match-ups in the league because he can shoot 3-pointers, penetrate and score or penetrate and dish.

"He runs the pick-and-roll as well as anyone in the league other than maybe Steve (Nash),” Carlesimo said. "I put them 1-2. Their decision making is so good it’s unbelievable. He and Steve are both pass-first guys, but they can also score and play for teams well constructed for their talents.”

WELCOME BACK

The Hornets received a large ovation in pre-game warm-ups. The loudest reception for either team was Chris Paul.

"That was great,” said New Orleans coach Byron Scott. "That shows they still think about us here. I know we think about them. We had a great time here. The fans were unbelievable. My wife still talks about how great it was here. It’s something that will be with us the rest of our lives.”

SWIFT SIDELINED

Thunder center Robert Swift, suffering from back spasms, didn’t suit out for Friday’s game. The injury occurred sometime Friday. Swift has appeared in seven games, starting four. He has averaged 3.

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