West, Hornets rock ThunderNov 22, 2008 - 7:43 AM OKLAHOMA CITY (Ticker) -- After finding refuge in Oklahoma City after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the New Orleans area, the New Orleans Hornets made the Ford Center look like home again Friday night.
David West had 19 points and eight rebounds as the Hornets routed the Thunder, 105-80, in their first regular-season game back in the city they called home for two seasons.
"It was very special," Hornets star point guard Chris Paul said. "The main thing was to come back, give the fans a show and get a win. The fans gave us a lot of support tonight, they cheered loud for us, and once again we hate to see them go."
A season of high expectations has gotten off to an unexpected start for New Orleans, which entered the game with a .500 record for the first time since December 2006.
But the Thunder were just the recipe for the Hornets' resurgence.
"We played pretty well on both ends of the floor," Scott said. "A sense of urgency seemed to be there, we seemed to play with a lot more energy and intensity than we have the last few games, and hopefully we can play that way the rest of the season.
"We did a real good job on the defensive end being very active with our hands, causing 14 turnovers in the first half. One game doesn't solve all our problems, but we're trying to get on a roll here, if we keep playing the way we did tonight on defense things will start to turn around."
The success the Hornets had in their campaigns in Oklahoma City led to the beginning of the Thunder, who came to the city from Seattle in the offseason.
But the Thunder have not enjoyed the same success, dropping their 10th straight game and joining the Washington Wizards as the only teams in the NBA with one win.
"I guess I can look in the bright side, in this economy, I'm just glad I have a job, to put everything into perspective," Thunder forward Nick Collison said. "I did my best to try and prepare to go out and do my job.
"No one should feel sorry for us, we're in a good situation, we've just got to try and play as best we can because we cannot control anything else."
Paul added 17 points, six rebounds and six assists as the Hornets jumped out to a 21-point halftime lead. A 20-2 run midway through the second quarter gave New Orleans a 24-point bulge and locked up the game's outcome almost immediately after it started.
The talented point guard thanked his fellow All-Star for the team's stellar play.
"West is really our go to guy, he had an outstanding game," Paul said. "He can beat you in so many ways. His aggressiveness was something we needed once Tyson got in early foul trouble to bail us out a little bit."
Devin Brown scored 16 points off the bench for New Orleans, which forced 14 of its 26 turnovers in the first half and turned them into 23 points.
Kevin Durant scored 17 points and Nick Collison collected 16 and 13 rebounds for the Thunder, who did manage to hold a 48-35 rebounding edge. Rookie point guard Russell Westbrook added 15 points off the bench.
Oklahoma City, the league's lowest-scoring team at less than 90.0 points per game, shot just 37 percent (26-of-71) from the field.
"When you turn the ball over 26 times resulting in 30-something points you cannot win," Oklahoma City coach P.J. Carlesimo said. "You have to give yourself a chance to be competitive, you've got to get a shot every time down the floor if you are going to have a chance to win."
NEW ORLEANS 105
OKLAHOMA CITY 80 FINAL
Nov 22 12:10 AM
NEW ORLEANS 83
OKLAHOMA CITY 57 END, 3RD QTR
Nov 21 11:40 PM
NEW ORLEANS 60
OKLAHOMA CITY 39 HALFTIME
Nov 21 10:51 PM
NEW ORLEANS 26
OKLAHOMA CITY 17 END, 1ST QTR
Nov 21 10:12 PM
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