Page last updated on Sat Dec 20 21:35:37 EST 2014
11/17/2012 12:01 AM EST
Thunder roll past Hornets, 110-95
OKLAHOMA CITY 110, NEW ORLEANS 95
By BRETT MARTEL
AP Sports Writer
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- When Kevin Durant gazed across the court at
the New Orleans Hornets, a young team full of potential and
stars in the making like Anthony Davis, it reminded him of what
the Oklahoma City Thunder were like a few years ago.
When the Hornets saw Durant slam down an alley-oop lob to
punctuate a fast break and give the Thunder a 30-point
first-half lead, it reminded them of how far they still have to
go to match the NBA's elite.
Durant and Kevin Martin each scored 27 points, and the Thunder
rolled to their sixth victory in seven games, 110-95 over New
Orleans on Friday night.
"We know what it takes to win on the road and we really respect
our opponent. These guys remind me so much of us a few years
back with the talent they have and the coach they have," Durant
said. "I wanted to ignite my team, not by scoring the ball or
rebounding or getting assists. I was just trying to inspire them
by my hard work and playing with a good intensity level."
Serge Ibaka scored 15 for Oklahoma City, which shot 54 percent
(40 of 74) and built a lead as large as 34 in the second half,
allowing the starters to rest for the entire fourth quarter.
Thabo Sefolosha scored 11 points, while Russell Westbrook had 10
points and 12 of the Thunder's 31 assists.
Westbrook made only three of 11 shots, but coach Scott Brooks
raved about the guard's hustle and unselfishness.
"It was one of his better games. On both ends of the floor he
was disruptive," Brooks said. "When he plays like that, it puts
a lot of pressure on the opponent, a lot of pressure on their
point guard to run the offense."
Westbrook, meanwhile, downplayed his role as a scorer, even
though that's what he has been the past couple seasons.
"It's not about me scoring a certain amount of points. That's
not the issue," Westbrook said. "Our problem is we need to win
games and that's all I try to do. ... When I go to the basket, a
lot of guys are collapsing on me and guys are open, and my job
is to make sure they get the ball on time and on target."
Oklahoma City made 14 3-pointers, with Martin hitting six of 11
and Durant going 4 of 5.
Ryan Anderson scored 15 points for New Orleans, which dropped
its second straight. Anthony Davis tied a career high with 11
rebounds to go with eight points, but hit only four of 14 shots.
"They pretty much ran away in the first half," Anderson said.
"They made a lot of shots and we didn't answer fast enough. This
is the NBA, where the greatest players in the world play and on
any given night a player can have a night like Kevin Martin had.
He couldn't miss."
The defensive-minded Hornets entered the game giving up 90.5
points per contest, the third-lowest average in the league, but
Oklahoma City scored 66 in the first half on 64 percent shooting
(23 of 36), including 8 of 13 from 3-point range.
The Thunder scored the first seven points and never looked back,
going up by as much as 20 in the opening quarter on consecutive
3s by Martin.
Martin wound up hitting five of seven 3-point attempts in the
first half and by halftime led all scorers with 22 points.
"We were just playing well as a team. The ball was just moving
to me," Martin said. "I just played my normal game. If the
shot's there, take it."
Although the Hornets appeared outclassed, they kept working,
which seemed to get under the skin of some Thunder players.
Westbrook and Greivis Vasquez were assessed double technical
fouls at the end of the half, and Durant and Kendrick Perkins
walked toward halfcourt to have words with Hornets players
including Davis. Monty Williams also strode toward center court
and angrily told Durant and Perkins not to talk to his players.
The teams then headed to the locker rooms without further
incident, and Hornets fans lustily booed Thunder players as they
disappeared into the tunnel.
Westbrook said he had no idea what happened or why technicals
were called. Williams said it was just a little
"We thought they said something. They thought we said something.
It happens," Williams said. ""When you have guys like Russell
and Greivis out there competing like that, things will happen.
We're men. But you also have to be man enough to admit that we
do goofy things when we compete. ... So we were just out there
kind of yelling back and forth. Basically they were just kicking
Notes: Hornets G Matt Carroll, acquired in a trade that sent
Hakim Warrick to Charlotte on Tuesday, still has not reported to
New Orleans, which has played twice since the deal. Hornets
general manager Dell Demps stopped short of saying the Hornets
intend to buy Carroll out, but said the player and team have an
agreement that has excused Carroll from showing up for now. ...
The Hornets announced earlier in the day a multiyear contract
extension for Demps. ... The Thunder, who had lost its previous
game Wednesday at Memphis, improved to 3-0 in games played after
a loss. Last season Oklahoma City was 15-3 in games played after
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