Tahlequah Daily Press

Thunder/NBA

December 2, 2012

Thunder blow past Hornets

NEW ORLEANS — Kevin Durant scored 20 points, Russell Westbrook added 18 points and 10 assists, and the Oklahoma City Thunder won their fifth straight game, 100-79 over the struggling New Orleans Hornets on Saturday night.

The two Thunder stars did all their work in first three quarters, resting for the final period after helping their club build a 27-point lead.

Kevin Martin added 19 points and Nick Collison 12 in reserve roles for Oklahoma City, which has won nine of 10, including its last four by double digits.

Ryan Anderson had 21 points and 10 rebounds for New Orleans, but was only 3 of 11 on 3-point attempts, normally his strength. Robin Lopez added 12 points and Roger Mason Jr. 11 for the Hornets, who have lost nine of 10.

Oklahoma City outshot the Hornets 50.6 percent (40 of 79) to 37 percent (30 of 81) and outscored New Orleans inside 52-34. The Thunder pushed the pace at every chance until the game was out of reach, scoring 18 fast-break points to the Hornets’ 4.

Playing without top overall pick Anthony Davis (left ankle) for a seventh straight game, the Hornets tried in vain to keep pace by shooting frequently from long range, which backfired. New Orleans finished 6 of 24 from 3-point range.

Oklahoma City took control early in the second quarter with an 11-0 run that included Durant’s 3 and his two-handed dunk on a drive down the left side of the lane. The surge made it 41-23, and the Hornets never got closer than 10 points again.

Anderson, among the NBA leaders in made 3s coming in, struggled to find his range, missing his first six from deep before finally hitting his seventh to pull New Orleans to 54-44 at halftime.

Durant then opened the second half with his second 3 of the game and Westbrook continued to dominate, tossing up an alley-oop lob to Durant in between his own jumper and mid-range fade.

Westbrook, who also had three steals, capped his night in the final moments of the third quarter by converting a fast-break layup and draining a 27-footer at the horn to give Oklahoma City a whopping 84-57 lead heading into the final period.

That allowed Thunder coach Scott Brooks to empty his bench in the fourth quarter and give his stars a well-deserved rest in what served as a dominant encore to a 12-point victory over Utah a night earlier.

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