Durant, Thunder rout Hornets

Associated Press  |  Last updated February 27, 2013
Russell Westbrook scored 29 points, Kevin Durant recorded his third career triple-double and the Oklahoma City Thunder finished a perfect three-game homestand by routing the short-handed New Orleans Hornets 119-74 on Wednesday night. Durant had 18 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists as Oklahoma City finished a dominant four-game sweep of the season series against New Orleans, which was without starters Anthony Davis (shoulder) and Eric Gordon (knee). The Thunder led by at least 29 in three of the four meetings this season, With the Thunder firmly in control, Durant made a clear bid for the triple-double. He got the assist on five straight Thunder baskets in the third quarter, grinning widely at the bench after his ninth assist. He and the rest of the starters exited soon after. Ryan Anderson started in place of Davis and led New Orleans with 14 points. The margin of victory matched the largest of the season for Oklahoma City and was the biggest blowout the Hornets have suffered this season. It also marked the first back-to-back blowouts by at least 30 points by the Thunder franchise since 1994, when it was located in Seattle. With Oklahoma City already up by 23, Durant went into assist mode to get his second triple-double since the All-Star break. He assisted on Westbrook's two-handed dunk and a jumper by Serge Ibaka, then threw an off-target alley-oop that Westbrook was able to lay in. He followed that with a pass to Ibaka for a layup, turning to his teammates on the bench with a big smile afterward. After a timeout, he knew he needed just one more assist and passed up a shot near the elbow to instead set up a 3-pointer by Westbrook from the left corner. On the next possession, Durant made a 10-foot jumper to make it 87-52 and then came out with the rest of the starters with 4:01 left in the third quarter. The huge lead gave coach Scott Brooks the whole fourth quarter to rest his starters and give playing time to new acquisitions Derek Fisher and Ronnie Brewer. Fisher, who signed as a free agent after Oklahoma City traded third-string point guard Eric Maynor last week, gained a spot in the rotation and missed a pair of 3-pointers in the first half. Brewer, acquired in a trade with New York last week, played the entire fourth quarter along with Fisher and the lead grew to as much as 43. The Thunder never trailed and pulled away after a cranking up their defense late in the first half. New Orleans started out 18 for 36 from the field and was within 48-43, then made just nine of 41 shots after that. Oklahoma City recorded five blocks in the first 3 1/2 minutes of the second half and never looked back. Oklahoma City had allowed four straight opponents to shoot 46 percent or better before holding Chicago to an NBA season-low 29.1 percent in a 102-72 blowout Sunday night. Westbrook scored 16 points in the first 10 minutes, also drawing a pair of fouls against Vasquez, as the Thunder took charge early. He and Ibaka combined for all but two of Oklahoma City's first 26 points, teaming up for all the scoring during an 8-0 run, and Oklahoma City built its lead to 36-22 after Martin's 16-footer about 2 minutes into the second quarter. The Hornets rallied back with nine straight points, following Roger Mason Jr.'s 3-pointer by getting to the rim for three easy buckets, to get within 45-41 on Al-Farouq Aminu's tip-in of a Vasquez miss. Durant responded with a 3-pointer on Oklahoma City's next possession, sparking a 17-4 flurry to finish the half by the Thunder. Durant had another 3-pointer, a pair of free throws and a slick pass to set up Ibaka's two-handed slam during the run that extended the lead to 62-45 at the break. Notes: Coach Monty Williams said the swelling in Davis' sprained left shoulder would be key in when he's able to return. New Orleans' next game is Friday night against Detroit. ''Just talking to our trainers, optimistically he's probably day-to-day. We'll re-evaluate him when we get home tonight or tomorrow and see how he feels,'' Williams said. ... The 38-year-old Fisher signed with Oklahoma City for the final part of the season for a second straight year, and Brooks says it's not just about his locker room presence from winning five titles with the Los Angeles Lakers. ''Derek gives us a great deal of experience and he's still a player. Trust me, we're not bringing him in here just to tell us good stories about Kobe and Shaq, how they won championship and he was the guy,'' Brooks said. ''We're not going to eat S'mores together. He's going to play.''
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