Durant, Thunder drop skidding HornetsJan 26, 2012 - 5:43 AM Oklahoma City, OK (Sports Network) - Kevin Durant had 25 points, seven rebounds and three blocks, lifting the Western Conference-leading Thunder over the skidding Hornets, 101-91.
James Harden added 18 points and six assists for Oklahoma City, which improved to 8-1 at home this season. Serge Ibaka and Russell Westbrook each tallied 14 points.
The Thunder have won three in a row to improve to 15-3 on the season.
"Going into this game, we knew they were going to play scrappy basketball," said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. "That's how they've been playing. Unfortunately for them, they haven't been rewarded for it, but we knew we were going to be in for a tough game and they proved it tonight."
Jarrett Jack ended with 20 points and five assists for New Orleans, which has lost nine straight games. Gustavo Ayon and Carl Landry donated 16 and 15 points, respectively.
"The first half they scored 60 points and the second half they scored 41. We just had the tail of two halves the turnovers just hurt us in the second half," said Hornets coach Monty Williams. "They take advantage of it when you turn it over and they run right down your chest."
Holding an 18-17 lead with 2:28 left in the first quarter, the Thunder closed out the period on a 12-5 spurt to go ahead by eight, 30-22.
Nick Collison's three-point play early in the second frame gave Oklahoma City a 37-25 margin. Daequan Cook's three-pointer and Harden's two free throws later in the period made it a 47-34 game.
The Thunder shot 60.6 percent from the floor in the first half and took a 60-51 lead into the locker room.
Trailing by 11, 76-65, late in the third quarter, the Hornets ended the period on a 6-2 flurry. Al-Farouq Aminu's jumper cut the gap to 78-71 heading to the fourth.
New Orleans battled back and got within two, 85-83, with 8:40 to play. But an ensuing 8-2 Oklahoma City burst proved to be costly. Westbrook's two free throws made it 93-85.
The Hornets never got closer than four the rest of the way.
Oklahoma City has won three straight and seven of the last eight meetings in the series...The Thunder have won 10 of their last 11 games...Oklahoma City has won five in a row at home...The Thunder shot 53.1 percent from the floor and went 28-for-33 from the foul line.
- NEW ORLEANS: 91
OKLAHOMA CITY: 101
Jan 25 10:26 PM
- NEW ORLEANS: 51
OKLAHOMA CITY: 60
Jan 25 9:13 PM
- NEW ORLEANS: 22
OKLAHOMA CITY: 30
End of 1st
Jan 25 8:36 PM
- NEW ORLEANS: 0
OKLAHOMA CITY: 0
1st Quarter - 12:00
Jan 25 8:12 PM
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