Hornets.com postgame: Thunder 100, Hornets 79
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
Thunder (14-4), Hornets (4-11)
It was over when… Russell Westbrook powered in for an uncontested right-handed layup, giving Oklahoma City an 81-57 lead late in the third quarter. On the next possession, the All-Star point guard launched a deep three-point at the buzzer to put the Thunder up by 27. For the second time in 15 days, Oklahoma City dominated New Orleans on its home floor. The Hornets dropped to 0-2 on their current homestand, with games remaining against the Bucks, Lakers and Grizzlies.
Hornets MVP: Ryan Anderson was the only Hornets player to tally more than a dozen points, totaling 21 in 34 minutes of action. On a night in which New Orleans struggled mightily to make shots, Anderson went 6-for-17 from the field and 3-for-11 on treys, but had to keep staying aggressive out of necessity.
Hornets Sixth Man of the Game: Despite being listed as a game-time decision due to an illness, Brian Roberts was the team’s most productive reserve, scoring eight points, all in the first three quarters. He finished 3-for-5 from the field. Oklahoma City enjoyed a 39-22 advantage in bench points and was able to get seldom-used deep reserves Reggie Jackson, DeAndre Liggins and Perry Jones onto the floor for the final 6:30.
The buzz on… the big picture. Following the one-sided loss, Monty Williams spoke primarily about the Hornets from a general and future standpoint. With two key players sidelined by injury, it’s difficult to get a true read on the capabilities of this team, but in their current shorthanded state the Hornets have been inconsistent, especially on their home floor. “I understand the process,” Williams said of the team’s long-term outlook. “Right now we are a rebuilding team, so you’re going to have nights where it doesn’t always go your way on the scoreboard, but you can get a ‘win’ when guys are picking up your system and you see guys getting better, sticking together and playing hard for 48 minutes. When you’re in a rebuild, you’d love to win every game, but at the same time, there are other ‘wins’ you can get, especially when you have a young team.” Williams used 22-year-old Al-Farouq Aminu (4-for-12, 8 points) as an example of the ups and downs young NBA players often experience. “(Players like him) tease you one night, and then some nights you think he’s going to be whatever you (envision as his ability),” Williams said. “He has a lot of upside, great potential, but he’s going to have nights like this, and nights like he had in L.A. (against the Clippers on Monday), where he looks like the player we want him to be. That falls on the coach’s shoulders – I’ve got to put him in position to succeed and get him to believe in the things I see in his game, so he can become a better player.”