NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, December 12th (All times Eastern)
New Orleans Hornets (5-15) at Oklahoma City Thunder (17-4), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Oklahoma City Thunder don't care that the New Orleans Hornets have lost 13 of their past 15 games and are set to play for the second night in a row.
All the Thunder are concerned with is logging their NBA high-tying 18th win of the season on Wednesday night as they try to beat the Hornets for the third time in a little less than four weeks.
Only the 18-4 San Antonio Spurs have more wins this season than the Thunder, who have won eight straight and have been off since Sunday's 104-93 win over the Indiana Pacers. That victory was also their seventh in a row at home, where they are 11-2 on the season.
Kevin Durant had 27 points and eight rebounds, while Kevin Martin added 24 points on 7-of-12 shooting. Russell Westbrook ended with 21 points, seven rebounds and six assists for Oklahoma City, which is on its longest winning streak since taking nine in a row from Jan. 29-Feb. 21, 2010.
"I thought we did a good job of not playing in a crowd and playing under control," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "We just made simple basketball plays, that's when we're really good."
The Thunder have scored over 100 points in 12 straight games, the longest stretch for the franchise since doing so in 19 consecutive contests in 1994-95.
Oklahoma City leads the NBA with an average of 106.0 points per game, while New Orleans is third from the bottom with 91.5 ppg. That should have things slanted heavily in the Thunder's favor, but Brooks doesn't want his team to take the Hornets lightly.
"It's always a challenge when you play any team in this league, Any team can beat you on any given night," Brooks said after practice on Tuesday. "You have to prepare and you have to treat every game the same. That's what we do, no matter who we play, no matter what record they have, we do it."
The Thunder have won six in a row and 10 of their past 11 against the Hornets. That includes two victories already this season, both in New Orleans. Oklahoma City recorded a 110-95 win on Nov. 16, then opened up play in December with a 110-79 triumph in the Big Easy.
These two teams meet for the fourth and final time this season on Feb. 27 in Oklahoma City and Westbrook thinks that having played New Orleans twice already is an advantage.
"It definitely helps," Westbrook said. "We've played them numerous times. We know what they run and we know how they like to play. It helps, but it's definitely going to be tough, especially beating a team three times."
The Hornets, who have lost five straight on the road in this series, will need to shoot much better tonight than they did in Tuesday's 77-70 setback to the Washington Wizards. New Orleans finished at just a 32.5-percent clip from the floor in the game, going 4-of-22 from the field and 1-of-9 from 3-point range in the fourth quarter.
Ryan Anderson led the Hornets with 17 points and 11 boards. However, he went 0-for-9 from the floor in the second half as the Hornets lost their fourth straight game.
"We were playing tight and playing mistake basketball," Hornets head coach Monty Williams said. "We did not play with the effort that is necessary to win an NBA game. You don't deserve to win when you play that way."
Anthony Davis, the top pick of the 2012 draft, played for the first time in 12 games after missing time with a stress reaction in his left ankle. He had 13 points and eight rebounds.
Davis was held to just 4-of-14 shooting for eight points with 11 rebounds vs the Thunder on Nov. 16 before sitting out the Dec. 1 meeting due to injury.
12/12 10:31:22 ET