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Oklahoma City Thunder Loses Close Game to Hornets

Kevin Durant (35) dunks over Emeka Okafor (50) during the Thunder's **-** victory Wednesday. (AP Photo) Kevin Durant (35) dunks over Emeka Okafor (50) during the Thunder's **-** victory Wednesday. (AP Photo)

Originally Published: Jan 6, 2010 9:51 PM CDT

Vitals | Recap

Corey DeMoss
Oklahoma Sports Staff Writer

OKLAHOMA CITY – In a game that stayed close from start to finish, the Oklahoma City Thunder lost a heart breaker 97-92 to the New Orleans Hornets Wednesday.

Down by three with 11 seconds left in the game, the Thunder (19-16) attempted to run a scripted play on an inbound pass. But the Hornets’ defense stepped up and forced Russell Westbrook to take a desperation shot that clanged off the rim. New Orleans (17-16) made two ensuing free throws to seal the five-point win.

The two teams went back and forth all night, resulting in 18 lead changes and 12 ties. The largest lead either team had all night was eight points.

After offensive fireworks in the third quarter, neither offense could get anything going in the fourth. The teams combined for just 29 points in the final period after each team alone scored more than that in the third.

Kevin Durant led all scorers with 27 points, but failed to register any field goals in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, Chris Paul – who had trouble scoring most of the night – turned things on in the final quarter and scored six points, including a shot to extend New Orleans' lead to three and set up Westbrook's failed attempt at a tie.

Paul finished with a double-double, scoring 14 points and dishing out 13 rebounds. David West led the Hornets with 19 points, and all of New Orleans’ starters scored in double digits.

Durant made all 12 of his free-throw attempts on the way to 27 points, while Jeff Green scored 20, and Nenad Krstic and Russell Westbrook each added 11.

The Thunder dominated the glass all night, particularly on the offensive end. OKC pulled down 13 offensive rebounds to New Orleans’ five, but the Thunder could not capitalize. It shot less than 45 percent from the field, including just 4-of-15 from 3-point range.

The loss is just the Thunder’s second in eight games and its first home loss since Dec. 16. The Hornets have now won four games in a row to move above .500 for the first time this year.

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