NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, December 1st (All times eastern)
Oklahoma City Thunder (13-4) at New Orleans Hornets (4-10), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Oklahoma City Thunder look to shoot the lights out again when they open a quick two-game road trip Saturday against the New Orleans Hornets.
The Thunder will also visit the Brooklyn Nets and are coming off Friday night's 106-94 victory over the Utah Jazz in the finale of a three-game homestand (3-0). Kevin Durant, the NBA's second-leading scorer with 26.6 ppg, had 25 points, but the biggest story of the night was Russell Westbrook.
Westbrook chipped in 23 points, 13 rebounds, eight assists and seven steals for Oklahoma City, which has won four in a row, seven of eight and improved to 13-4 on the season. Reserve Kevin Martin scored 19 points for the Thunder.
"Definitely a good homestand leading to the road," Westbrook said. "We're playing good basketball right now. Everybody's moving the ball, feeling good and hopefully we can continue it."
Oklahoma City has scored 100-plus points in eight straight games and leads the league with 105.4 ppg. The Thunder shot an efficient 52 percent from the floor and scored 25 points off 19 Utah turnovers. They have made 48.3 percent of their shots this season, second-best in the NBA.
Since a 3-2 start to the season, the Hornets have dropped eight of nine games and will continue a five-game homestand Saturday.
The Hornets ended a seven-game slide with a win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday, but fell back into the loss column two nights later in a 96-84 setback to the Jazz in the opener of the homestand.
Greivis Vasquez scored 18 points and handed out eight assists, while Robin Lopez contributed 18 points and seven boards for the Hornets, who did not have No. 1 overall pick Anthony Davis because of a sore left ankle. Davis has missed six straight games.
"When you miss shots and turn the ball over, it usually sets you up for a loss," Hornets coach Monty Williams said. "Our guys never quit though, no matter who we put in the game. Some nights you don't have it."
New Orleans is 0-8 when outshot by an opponent and 0-7 when giving up 100-plus points. On the plus side, the Hornets have five players averaging double figures in scoring (Ryan Anderson 16.9, Davis 16.0, Vasquez 13.7, Lopez 11.1 and Al-Farouq Aminu 10.3).
The Hornets are 2-5 at the Hive and will also welcome the Bucks, Lakers and Grizzlies to the Big Easy. They dropped a 110-95 decision to Oklahoma City on Nov. 16 as Durant donated 27 points, nine rebounds and five assists.
Oklahoma City won all three meetings with New Orleans last season and has prevailed in five straight and nine of the past 10 games in this series.
12/01 10:44:22 ET