Hornets Blow Lead, Lose To Thunder
For the second consecutive game in as many days, the Hornets could not stop the bleeding late. The officials didn't help when they decided they wouldn't call any fouls on Kevin Durant late, regardless of how obvious it was to everyone in Oklahoma City.
At one point, after a "block" on Okafor, the entire Thunder and Hornet team stopped moving, asuming a foul was called, and when they realized a whistle never blew, they began to play again. Having said that, New Orleans still didn't tighten up late defensively the way Hornet fans grew accustomed to earlier in the season. The Thunder went on a 14-0 run late in the fourth quarter to quickly erase an 8 point deficit, to win by 6. Russell Westbrook's all around play, along with Durant's "defense," was the biggest reason why.
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Westbrook scored six in a row to tie the game, then kept going with a driving layup and a 3-pointer that put the Thunder up 88-81 with 1:38 to play. After the 3-pointer, he mocked slamming guns down into holsters at his side.
"Sometimes when my teammates are down and not making shots, it's an opportunity for me to be able to step up and help us win the game," Westbrook said.
Durant finished with 26 points, but 12 came from the free-throw line -- including four in the final minute that helped clinch it. His biggest contribution in the decisive stretch was slowing down David West, who led New Orleans with 20 points but missed six straight shots as Oklahoma City pulled ahead.
"This game is all about wins. As a leader, you've got to do whatever it takes to win. I think that I did that tonight," Durant said. "That's a part of my growth as a player."
Like I said, Durant's "defense." The road has not been kind to the Hornets lately. Three of their next four are at home against inferior Eastern conference opponents. It's imperative the Hornets win all three of those home games. First up is the Bobcats, who will tip off at 7:00 with the Hornets this Wednesday.