W Bennett Berry
Derek Fisher and Ronnie Brewer make their debuts as the Thunder easily put away New Orleans, 119-74
Anthony Davis and Eric Gordon were both held out of tonight's ball game, and as a result the Hornets struggled from the start. The Thunder led 62-45 at the half before blowing the game open in the third quarter. OKC won the period 34-15, letting Scott Brooks rest the starters in the fourth and Derek Fish and Ronnie Brewer getting extended debuts.
It's Durant's second triple double in the last 4 games and he got in only 27 minutes of play. The starters checked out of the ball game late in the third quarter, making tonight a near carbon copy of Monday night's blowout.
What is your initial reaction to tonight's result?
The Thunder complete the season sweep of the Hornets, and get their second straight 30+ point win. The Hornets sat out 2 starters and a key reserve, Jason Smith, essential playing tonight as a 'scheduled loss' in hopes of resting some ailing players. OKC took full advantage of that fact and it wasn't pretty.
Tonight we also saw the debut of Derek Fisher and Ronnie Brewer. Fisher, who had 2 assists but missed all 4 shots he took, seems assigned the same role he had on the team last year, more of a defensive 2-guard and a 3-pt specialist than a backup point guard. Brewer only got minutes in the fourth, but played fairly well against the Hornets reserves. He ended the night with 5 points, 4 rebounds and 2 steals on the night.
What was, overall, the main reason why the Thunder won?
The 3 Hornets players held of tonight's game average about 37 points this season. A few players needed to step up tonight to give the Hornets a chance and no one did. Only 1 player, Ryan Anderson, had over scored in the double digits tonight. While the Thunder, outside of Serge Ibaka, didn't shoot particular well tonight, it was enough to easily put them past the Hornets. By contrast, the Thunder had 5 players score equal to or more than the Hornets' leading scorer.
What was a key statistic to understanding the game?
The Thunder shot 55% while holding the Hornets to 35% on the night. This 20% gap pretty much did New Orleans in and summed up what was an ugly night.
OKC also out-rebounded New Orleans 48-25. Although much of it came on the defensive end due to the Hornet's missing a lot of shots, this was an area the Hornets needed to perform well in to have any chance of competing in this game. Instead they were prevented from any second chance points
What does this game mean to the Thunder tonight and going forward?
The Thunder have built up a great deal of momentum over the past two games heading into a very tough divisional game at Denver on Friday. This will be a good gauge on whether the Thunder have found some sort of zone they are playing in, or if they were just beating up on weaker teams.
On a sentimental note, tonight was the last time we'll see the Hornets in OKC, as next season they'll be the New Orleans Pelicans. The Thunder organization and Oklahoma City as a whole owes a lot of thanks to the Hornets, if it wasn't for the two seasons they spent here in OKC, we wouldn't have the Thunder today.
Thunder Wonder: Kevin Durant, 18 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists.
Thunder Down Under: Reggie Jackson, 14 points, 3 assists
Thunder Blunder: Derek Fisher, 0 points, 0-4 3pt.
Thunder Plunderer: Ryan Anderson, 14 points.
Next game: @ Denver Nuggets, on Fri. March 1, @ 8:30 CDT
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