The Charlotte Hornets’ unique brand of three-point shooting and gritty defense proved too much for the Thunder in a matinee matchup in Oklahoma City, winning 102-83 on the back of Kemba Walker’s 29 points.
Russell Westbrook notched his 40th triple-double — one off of Oscar Robertson’s record in a season — scoring 40, pulling down 13 rebounds, and dishing out 10 assists. Unfortunately, though, the Thunder have played exceptionally poorly lately, just two miracles away from a five-game losing streak.
As for the triple-double, I believe that Mr. Westbrook would like to quote one Jay-Z, who you may have heard of before: ‘Moral victories is for minor league coaches.’
It really is apalling.
Victor Oladipo scored 19 points and dished out six assists. Andre Roberson had 12 points and six boards. No other Thunder players scored in double-digits.
Steven Adams and Enes Kanter were wildly ineffective, combining for 11 points on 5-of-14 shooting. Their lack of impact (especially in Adams’s case) has been frustrating and likely a large part of the Thunder’s woes lately.
For the Hornets, Walker had 29 points. Frank Kaminsky scored 18, and Michael-Kidd Gilchrist had 16 points, six rebounds, and two steals.
Turnovers were the Achilles heel for the Thunder. The Thunder turned the ball over 24 times, the Hornets’s defense benefiting to the tune of 18 steals — a season high for them.
Even when the Thunder did make it a close game — for example, when they trimmed a a deficit on a 10-2 run to make the score 59-54 at half time — a Charlotte run was quick to follow.
It took the Thunder 5:37 into the third quarter to score a bucket, and the Hornets were able to effectively put the game away in the period. The Thunder made a run at it in the fourth, but were unable to bring the deficit any closer than 11 points.
The Thunder fall to 43-33, while the Hornets improve to 36-41.
Next up: the Thunder take on the Bucks Tuesday night in Oklahoma City 7 P.M.