Paul records triple-double as Hornets top ThunderNov 23, 2008 - 4:53 AM By Peter Finney PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
NEW ORLEANS (Ticker) -- Another night, another head coach, and unfortunately for Oklahoma City Thunder interim coach Scott Brooks, the same frustrating result.
Brooks, a six-year NBA assistant with three different teams, took over for the fired P.J. Carlesimo in the middle of a rare home-and-home set before the Thunder lost their 11th consecutive game, 109-97, to the New Orleans Hornets at New Orleans Arena on Saturday.
Oklahoma City dropped to 1-13 overall.
After smoking the Thunder by 25 points in Oklahoma City on Friday night, David West and Chris Paul ignited a 17-2 Hornets' run in the second quarter as New Orleans took command and coasted to its second victory in two nights.
Paul recorded the fifth triple-double of his career - collecting 29 points, 16 assists and 10 rebounds - and West scored a season-high 33 points to spark the Hornets (7-5).
As usual, Paul performed so smoothly his performance looked almost routine. He had just two turnovers in 44 minutes.
"We need to make winning routine," said Paul, mindful of the Hornets' disappointing 5-5 start. "It's a good win for us, regardless of their record. They might be 1-13, but a win is a win in this league and you've got to get as many as you can."
Paul grabbed his 10th rebound in the final minute to get his fifth career triple-double.
"It's an honor," Paul said. "The points are hard to come by. The assists are fairly easy when you've got a group of guys like this. But it's crazy when you get triple-doubles when you've got people like (center) Tyson (Chandler) and D. West on your team (rebounding the ball)."
When the Thunder opened the game using small forward Jeff Green to defend West, Paul continued to feed West in the low post, and the All-Star forward responded by going 13-of-20 from the floor.
"It seemed like he had 43 or 50 (points)," said Hornets coach Byron Scott. "You just give it to him on the block, and he was just going to work."
"He's a natural three-man," West said of Green. "And obviously, when they had him in the lineup they wanted to play smaller and play quicker. We felt we could use that to our advantage. When they started collapsing, guys were able to make shots when we swung the ball."
Brooks, who joined Carlesimo's staff in Seattle last season, said he spoke with Carlesimo early Saturday and got a warm vote of confidence.
"P.J. is a very good basketball mind, and I've learned a lot from him. But we all are held accountable," Brooks said. "It's not just one guy. I think the players have looked at themselves in the mirror and realize they have to play better and play with much more energy and passion.
"We are at a stage of all of our careers that we have to come with it every day."
Kevin Durant led the Thunder with 30 points, making 11-of-16 shots from the field. But it wasn't enough.
Brooks said he planned to meet with every player within the next two days and evaluate where each player is in relation to his potential.
"I want to continue to stress making progress and improving and developing our group," Brooks said. "Obviously, everybody knows that we have young guys that need direction, but our (entire) team needs direction.
"That's the role of a coach - to lead your team. I have clear plans and I will do whatever it takes to make this team play with much more energy and passion on the defensive end and for each other on the offensive end."
On Friday night, Oklahoma City struggled with 36 percent shooting in its 105-80 loss to the Hornets, but at least it had a strong first half in that contest, going 20-of-35 from the field and trailing, 53-48, at the break.
The Hornets trailed 41-34 with 7:07 left in the second quarter on Saturday but went on a 17-2 tear over the next 5:29 - with Paul hitting a layup, a 3-pointer and 10-foot turnaround in the lane and West adding two short jumpers to key the surge and take a 51-43 lead.
Oklahoma City got no closer than five points in the fourth quarter.
OKLAHOMA CITY 97
NEW ORLEANS 109 FINAL
Nov 22 10:21 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY 72
NEW ORLEANS 82 END, 3RD QTR
Nov 22 9:51 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY 53
NEW ORLEANS 48 HALFTIME
Nov 22 9:08 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY 30
NEW ORLEANS 28 END, 1ST QTR
Nov 22 8:38 PM
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