Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 12/1/12
NEW ORLEANS -- Russell Westbrook had his guns blazing -- on both ends of the court -- and usually that's bad news for anyone who gets in his way. Coming off a performance that Oklahoma City Thunder coach Scott Brooks called "as good as it gets," Westbrook followed up with another dazzling effort -- 18 points, 10 assists and three steals -- to lift the Thunder to a 100-79 rout of the New Orleans Hornets Saturday night at the New Orleans Arena. "There's not a lot of guys in this league who can impact a game defensively and offensively like he can," Brooks said. "He set the tone, and then our guys rallied around him. Russell was very good on the ball. He had one of his better games. He's had a bunch of them lately, at both ends of the floor." In a 106-94 victory over the Utah Jazz on Friday night, Westbrook had one of the amazing stat lines in NBA history -- 23 points, 13 rebounds, eight assists and seven steals. Against the Hornets, Westbrook chested up against point guard Greivis Vasquez and stripped him twice in the first 3:30 to lead to easy Oklahoma City baskets. "I've put a big emphasis on coming out every night and defending, and that's what I've been trying to do all season long," Westbrook said. "We did a good job of making them miss (the Hornets shot just 37 percent on 30-of-81 from the field) and got out on the break, and we got easy points." In winning their fifth consecutive game and their sixth straight over New Orleans, the Thunder (14-4) toyed with the Hornets in the second half, extending a 54-44 halftime lead to 29 points, 86-57, early in the fourth quarter. They broke the game open with a 30-13 third quarter, shooting 63.2 percent from the field and making 4 of 6 from 3-point range. Kevin Durant scored 20 points and grabbed eight rebounds in 32 minutes, and Kevin Martin came off the bench to score 19 points for Oklahoma City. But it was Westbrook who set the tone with his pressure defense on the slower-footed Vasquez and his ability to dart past the Hornets' perimeter defense for easy layups. "He comes out and sets the tone for us by pressuring their point guard, and we all just follow his lead," Durant said. "Tonight was no different. He was able to disrupt (Vasquez) early on, and that got us going." "He's one of the most athletic guards in the league," Martin added. "When he's putting ball pressure on like that, it's just a hard night for anybody." Westbrook scored the last five points of the third quarter, including a 3-pointer from the left wing at the buzzer. He playfully turned both of his hands into pistols and fired them at the crowd. He also made a big 3-pointer at the end of the first half. "That's great for our team and gets us pumped up," Westbrook said. "It gets me pumped up as well." Playing without rookie forward Anthony Davis for the seventh consecutive game, the Hornets (4-11) lost for the ninth time in 10 games. Ryan Anderson led the Hornets with 21 points and 10 rebounds, but the NBA's leader in 3-point field goals was just 3 of 11 from long range. "I thought we competed," Hornets coach Monty Williams said. "We just didn't play smart. Silly turnovers, defensive lapses. But that's a coach's job. A lot of this falls on my shoulders." NOTES: The Thunder set a franchise record with 13 wins in November... Oklahoma City has won its last four games by an average margin of 25 points. "We're just playing together, sharing the ball, playing defense and trusting each other on both ends of the court," Martin said. "Everybody's playing at a high level." ... The Thunder are 5-0 on the second game of back-to-backs this season ... Hornets rookie forward Anthony Davis missed his seventh consecutive game with a stress reaction in his left ankle. He may be able to return soon.
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