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Game 35 Recap: New Orleans 97, Oklahoma City 92

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Yahoo! Sports Box Score:

Well, we lost, but there's not much new to say about this game. The Thunder were competitive the entire time, and looked to be in a position to win, at points. But, in the end, even their defense failed them, and they completely self-destructed upon the final play. Know what that sounds like? It sounds like a game from last spring! And it basically is.

Below: Analysis, Awards (Much longer than the above!)

There's not much to say about what New Orleans did to the Thunder, except that they always seemed to find the open man, Whether it be rotating the ball over the perimeter, clearing space in midrange with picks, or just using bigger size to their advantage, the Hornets always seemed to come out on top. I can't remember the last time I saw a team score so well in unison. And if you're about to cite the Bulls game, I'd call this one far better, simply because their ball movement was better, they won, and the bench managed to contribute. I honestly can't cite one bad performance on the Hornets side of things.

And, while the Hornets were looking like the prime example of sharing is caring, the Thunder were looking extremely specialized. As usual, Durant lead in scoring, with 27. Surprisingly, Jeff Green returned to form, adding 20, and Krstic and Westbrook added 11. It's not that anybody looked selfish, it's just that a lot more of our points had to be clawed, driven, and scraped for, rather than easily hit on an open shot.

But the coup de grâce was when the Thunder completely floundered at the end of the game. After a thrilling Westbrook layup, the Thunder were down by only one with 52 seconds to go. It was obvious they needed a defensive stop. Chris Paul missed a short jumper....and the Hornets got the rebound, most likely due to the fact we had no big men out there on the floor. They reset their offense, wasted a lot more time, and Chris Paul hit a crucial shot. Then, The thunder were down by 3 with 11 seconds to go. At this point, I knew the game was lost. They passed it in, and somehow the Thunder's 3 most likely shooters got all clustered in the corner, and Russell Westbrook ended up throwing up a prayer that clanked off the rim. The Hornets rebounded and were fouled with .1 to go, but by then, it was all over. If we're going to be a legitimate team, we've got to have better inbounds plays. You know, like rotating around the perimeter instead of setting some sort of pick that's going to fail miserably, and end up having some yahoo launching a prayer of a three.

So, without further ado, lets get onto the awards. Kevin Durant is the obvious Thunder Wonder, since he hardly missed an opportunity to score. 27 Points, 5 Rebounds, and 3 Assists round out his night. The Thunder Down Under goes to Russell Westbrook. He missed a lot of shots, but he contributed so much in the intangible categories that I think he trumps Jeff Green by a good amount. 11 Points, 4 Rebounds, 9 Assists, and 3 Assists recap his night.

The Thunder Blunder is Nenad Krstic, no question. He scored and rebounded more than usual, I'll give him that. But, what was absolutely inexcusable was his defense of Okafor. You can't let him drop 15 Points on you, especially in a game where the Hornets didn't have a notable leading scorer. Sefolosha successfully negated Devon Brown, but when other players go off in other places, Sefoloshas defense is all for naught. Consequently, the Thunder Plunderer is Okafor, simply because he played beyond his capacity.

Next Game: Versus Indiana, Sunday, January 9th, 7 PM Central Standard Time.