Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 11/26/12
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Before the Charlotte Bobcats took the floor Monday, coach Mike Dunlap told his players to not listen to the outside noise. Even though the team had already matched its win total from the previous season, he didn't want the Bobcats to start believing the hype about how good they were. Dunlap's words turned out to be prophetic, as the Oklahoma City Thunder drilled the Bobcats 114-69 at Chesapeake Energy Arena. "We kind of know OKC is a test for us," Dunlap said. "We failed it miserably, but there are better days ahead." The 69 points allowed by the Thunder is an Oklahoma City-era record. The previous low was 74. The 45-point margin of victory also is an Oklahoma City record. "It's obviously one of our best games that we've played on both ends of the floor," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "It was a combination of a few things. We really played good basketball, passing and defending, and they had a bad night. It happens." Kevin Durant had an efficient night for the Thunder (11-4). In only 26 minutes, he finished with 18 points on 6-of-8 shooting. He also racked up six rebounds, four assists and four blocked shots without touching the floor in the fourth quarter. Russell Westbrook added 12 points and 11 assists for Oklahoma City, which had five players reach double digits in scoring. As a team, the Thunder handed out 31 assists on 40 field goals. "I think everybody came out ready to play tonight," Westbrook said. "Everybody did a great job of coming out focused and took care of the task at hand." Jeffery Taylor paced the Bobcats (7-6) with 10 points. No other Charlotte player reached double figures, as the team shot a season-low 29.1 percent from the field. "Oklahoma City is a great team," Charlotte center Byron Mullens said. "It got out of hand real quick. It was 30-14 in the first quarter. Next thing we look up, it's out of hand really fast. "This is a bad loss for us, but we just have to learn how to take it and keep playing. Just their all-around game took over tonight. They got us tonight." Oklahoma City's biggest lead of the night came midway through the third period, when the Thunder held a 54-point advantage. A few minutes later, Durant, Westbrook and Serge Ibaka left the game for good. Even with the Thunder starters out, Charlotte couldn't buy a basket. Dunlap soon benched his regulars and put in his reserves in to finish the game. The highlight of the second half was Oklahoma City reserve center Hasheem Thabeet getting the first double-double of his four-year career with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Thabeet was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2009 draft out of Connecticut. Thabeet has seen his career make a resurgence since signing with the Thunder in the offseason. "I am just trying to be aggressive," Thabeet said. "They want me to affect the game vocally and with my size. That is something you don't really work on, you just go out there and do it in a game." In one of the worst shooting halves of the season, Charlotte fell behind 64-24 at halftime. It was the lowest amount of points the Thunder allowed in a half since coming to Oklahoma City. The first 24 minutes were punctuated by a ferocious Westbrook dunk that epitomized the entire game for Oklahoma City. "They were sleeping," Westbrook said. "I just saw everybody's head turned, so I just tried to go and take off. I have a tenacity to try and dunk the ball like that. Just natural, I guess." Following blowout games, most losing coaches would prefer their team move on without examining the videotape. However, Dunlap said there are teaching moments in every game, even this one. "We are too young to throw the tape away," Dunlap said. "There is plenty of good material there in terms of what we value. You can overreact in these situations, but we need to react and respond to it." NOTES: Entering play Monday, Durant was averaging 8.9 free-throw attempts per game, which was good for the fourth place in the NBA. Westbrook was 10th at 5.9 per game. The Thunder were one of two teams that had two players in the top 10 in attempts per game. Both Westbrook and Durant went 4-for-4 from the line against the Bobcats. ... Charlotte's Bismack Biyombo was active after missing Saturday's game in Washington with a left leg contusion. At 20 years old, he's one of the youngest players in the NBA, and he reminds many of Ibaka in the early stages of his career. He didn't play at Oklahoma City. ... Westbrook has appeared in 326 consecutive NBA games, longest active streak in the league. ... Between Charlotte and Oklahoma City, there are four players born in Africa are on the rosters: Biyombo and Gana Diop for Charlotte and Ibaka and Thabeet for Oklahoma City. ... Dunlap said part of his team's success this year is finding ways to communicate with his players using today's technology. "This generation texts a lot," Dunlap said. "You can get a lot done by texting with your players because that is the habit that they know and are comfortable with." Dunlap said the idea came from his former boss, George Karl. ... Karl, now the head coach of the Denver Nuggets, has a coaching tree includes both Dunlap and Brooks.
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