OKC Starts Fast but Fades in Loss to Hornets

Thursday, May 26th 2011, 12:10 pm
By: News On 6

Originally Published: Jan 24, 2011 9:47 PM CDT

Grant Belcher
Oklahoma Sports Staff Writer

NEW ORLEANS – The magic from OKC’s buzzer beater win against New York apparently didn’t carry over.

The Thunder couldn’t pull off another miracle and fell 91-89 in a down-to-the-wire matchup with the Hornets on Monday in New Orleans.

With nine seconds remaining and the game tied at 89, the Hornets inbounded the ball to forward David West.

West sized up Thunder forward Serge Ibaka, pivoted and drained a fadeaway 20-footer with 0.5 on the clock to give New Orleans its final two-point advantage.

Oklahoma City threw the ball in on its own end but the pass skipped off Ibaka’s fingers, killing the clock and sealing the win for the Hornets.

The defeat had more implications than just the win-loss columns for the Thunder, as the Hornets jumped OKC in the Western Conference standings, moving the Thunder down to fourth.

OKC had a monstrous first quarter, outscoring the Hornets 33-19 in what looked to be a potential blowout.

New Orleans, however, put together an even more impressive second quarter, shutting down the Thunder offense and outscoring them 31-12 to take a five-point lead into the half.

After pulling back into it and eventually retaking a four-point lead late in the game, Oklahoma City went ice cold.

A jumper from Russell Westbrook put the Thunder up 87-83 with 4:18 to play. But OKC hit just one of its final nine shots in the game.

Kevin Durant led the Thunder with 22 points but did not score in the fourth quarter. Westbrook had 18 points and 10 assists.

Chris Paul led the Hornets with 24 points and nine assists, and David West had 20 points.

The Thunder will look to rebound on the road against Minnesota at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.