Hornets.com postgame: Thunder 101, Hornets 91

Wednesday, January 25, 2012
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

Thunder (15-3), Hornets (3-15)

It was over when… Kevin Durant threw down an alley-oop dunk to give Oklahoma City a 10-point lead with just over two minutes remaining in regulation. After a string of narrow losses, New Orleans was defeated by a double-figure margin – albeit exactly 10 points – for the first time since the last matchup against OKC, on Jan. 11. It was the Hornets’ ninth straight loss overall. They head back to the Crescent City for weekend home games against Orlando and Atlanta.

Hornets MVP: Give the nod to Gustavo Ayon for his best performance to date as a Hornet. The native of Mexico’s highly efficient 17-minute outing was highlighted by a career-best 16 points on 8-for-10 shooting. Ayon also contributed two rebounds, three steals and a block. He continues to show his high basketball IQ and skill in finishing plays around the rim, seemingly always knowing the right spots to be on offense.

Hornets Sixth Man of the Game: This was a vintage Carl Landry game, with the power forward going just 2-for-5 from the field but still managing to pile up 15 points. Landry is one of the best frontcourt players in the league at getting to the foul line, a knack he showed by making 11 trips Wednesday. Fortunately the Purdue product is also one of the most accurate bigs from the charity stripe, making all of his 11 attempts. The fifth-year pro is a career 77.3 percent shooter at the line.

The buzz on… Xavier Henry’s debut with the Hornets. With Eric Gordon sidelined for at least another three weeks, the opportunity is there at shooting guard for Henry to earn minutes. Aside from current starter Marco Belinelli, there is no other player on the active roster whose primary position is the 2, meaning Henry should become a factor in the rotation if he plays well. Monty Williams has said multiple times recently that the Hornets believe the second-year pro has the potential to help – not just be a placeholder until Gordon returns to the court. Henry had a few good moments in Game 1 for him, but seemed understandably a bit out of game rhythm on some plays. He scored three points in 13 minutes, with his lone bucket coming off an athletic dunk. Williams said of Gordon’s status that it “will probably be three weeks before we reevaluate where he is. The doctors feel like he is in a position to get better. We don’t want to rush it, because we think it’s going to be better for our future.”