Westbrook paces Thunder over HornetsDec 11, 2010 - 4:43 AM New Orleans, LA (Sports Network) - Russell Westbrook led the way with 29 points and 10 assists, and the Oklahoma City Thunder notched a solid road win with a 97-92 victory over the New Orleans Hornets.
Kevin Durant added 25 points, six assists and five rebounds for the Thunder, who have won the last four matchups with the Hornets. Serge Ibaka registered 18 points and nine rebounds, while Jeff Green scored 13 points in the victory.
"We were just being aggressive towards the end of the game," Westbrook said. "Whatever is [needed] to come out with a victory. That's what we have to do."
David West posted 24 points and 13 rebounds for the struggling Hornets, who have lost seven of 10. Chris Paul had 18 points, seven assists and five steals, while Marco Belinelli contributed 15 points in defeat.
The game was lost at the free throw line in the fourth quarter, when New Orleans went a miserable 4-of-10. Oklahoma City, meanwhile, went 7-of-8.
With the game tied, 76-76, and just under 10 minutes remaining in the fourth, Westbrook spearheaded a 7-0 burst that took 40 seconds. He hit a jumper from 13 feet away, then converted a three-point play following an offensive foul on Belinelli.
After a James Harden steal, Thabo Sefolosha's fastbreak dunk made it a seven- point game with nine minutes left.
The Hornets answered with the next seven points, tying the game on a Paul bucket with 5 1/2 minutes to play, but a Durant jumper and Green free throw put the Thunder back ahead.
The free throw woes began from there. Emeka Okafor made 1-of-2 from the line, preceding a Green layup for an 88-84 game with 3:50 left. Trevor Ariza was fouled on the next possession, but couldn't sink either free throw. Okafor had another chance at the line a short time later, but also missed both, keeping the margin at four with three minutes left.
Belinelli went 1-for-2 from the charity stripe after a West steal to cut the deficit to only three, but Oklahoma City doubled its advantage to six on a Westbrook three-point play with 1:41 left.
Ibaka's two free throws inside a minute to play put the Thunder ahead, 95-90, before Belinelli made it a one-possession game by hitting a bank shot with 46.6 ticks to go.
After Durant missed a jumper, Belinelli was off the mark on a potential game- tying three, and Durant salted away the victory with two free throws with under 10 seconds to play.
"I think it comes down to stops in a game like that," Paul said. "You have to be able to get stops at the end of the game."
New Orleans held a 32-31 advantage after one quarter and expanded its lead to 59-52 at halftime.
Westbrook scored five points during an 11-0 burst midway through the third that put the Thunder ahead, 66-63, with just over five minutes left, and Oklahoma City took a 74-71 lead to the fourth.
The Thunder have won both matchups this season...New Orleans went 13-of-13 from the line before the fourth quarter. Oklahoma City was 23-of-26 overall on free throws...The Thunder are 9-4 on the road this season.
- OKLAHOMA CITY: 97
NEW ORLEANS: 92
Dec 10 10:30 PM
- OKLAHOMA CITY: 74
NEW ORLEANS: 71
End of 3rd
Dec 10 9:54 PM
- OKLAHOMA CITY: 52
NEW ORLEANS: 59
Dec 10 9:09 PM
- OKLAHOMA CITY: 31
NEW ORLEANS: 32
End of 1st
Dec 10 8:38 PM
- OKLAHOMA CITY: 0
NEW ORLEANS: 0
1st Quarter - 15:00
Dec 10 8:12 PM
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