Hornets.com postgame: Hornets 91, Thunder 89

Monday, January 24, 2011
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

Hornets (30-16), Thunder (28-16)

It was over when… Oklahoma City’s desperate attempt to try to get a shot off with 0.5 seconds left resulted in an errant pass out of bounds. New Orleans took its two-point lead on David West’s high-arcing jumper from the right elbow. The two-time All-Star’s game-winning basket gave the Hornets their ninth straight victory.

Hornets MVP: This was vintage West in the fourth quarter, with the power forward scoring the Hornets’ final eight points, all on mid-range jumpers. A few years ago, West was nicknamed the “17-Foot Assassin” for his prolific shot-making from the mid-range area of the floor. In Monday’s victory, he was at his best from that portion of the court. On the official score sheet, West’s string of late-game jumpers were from 16, 16, 18 and 19 feet.

Hornets Sixth Man of the Game: Marcus Thornton again provided a much-needed spark for New Orleans after the hosts fell into a 14-point hole through the first quarter. The second-year LSU product didn’t have a great shooting game (3-for-12) but contributed across the board with 10 points, two rebounds, two assists, one steal and a pair of three-pointers.

The buzz on… another momentous basket by the team’s big-shot maker. Two nights ago, Chris Paul was watching highlights of the Knicks at Thunder game and watched Kevin Durant bury a game-winning fadeaway from the right wing. Paul remarked that Durant – a close friend of Paul’s – still had a long way to go to approach the number of game-winning shots that West made while the Hornets were temporarily based in Oklahoma City in 2005-06 and 2006-07. “D West did that time and time again, and that’s why I have the ultimate confidence in him,” Paul said.

When it was pointed out that he made multiple game-winners in the Sooner State’s capital city a few years ago, West said, “Yeah, I guess that’s actually a little bit ironic. But I'm confident in those scenarios. Usually we go to Chris in that spot, but I knew he wasn’t going to be able to do what he needed to do with his foot (being rolled on during the previous play)."

Speaking of Paul's late-game injury, the three-time All-Star point guard made it sound as though it was not serious. Usually with an ankle injury you might need to wait until the next morning to see if there is additional swelling, but Paul was standing up in front of his locker while doing his postgame interview in front of about 15 media members.

Blog question of the night: D.J. Mbenga has come on of late, including Monday's performance that included five points and five rebounds in 10 minutes. What mid-term grade do you give the 7-foot free-agent signee?