Hornets.com postgame: Hornets 100, Thunder 98

Tuesday, February 17, 2009
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

Amid all of the discussion about Tuesday's trade, it was almost easy to forget that the Hornets and Thunder had a basketball game to play tonight. What a game it turned out to be.

Chris Paul delivered a spinning, game-winning basket with 2.9 seconds remaining, enabling New Orleans (31-20) to pull out a two-point win at Oklahoma City. Paul's bucket came on the heels of a fallaway Kevin Durant three-pointer with 13 seconds left, which tied the game at 98. Durant's spectacular performance consisted of a career-high 47 points, on 16-for-27 shooting.

Meanwhile, David West authored one of his best and most timely outings of the season, finishing with 37 points (13-for-20 FGs) and 13 rebounds. The All-Star power forward piled up 24 of his points in the second half.

"I just wanted to come out and be aggressive," West said. "We really wanted to come out and get off to a good start after the All-Star break. We knew Oklahoma City had been playing better basketball than they had early in the season."

Roughly five hours after the Tyson Chandler trade was announced, the Hornets responded well early at OKC, building a 16-point lead at one stage of the first half. The Thunder rallied all the way back to take the lead and make it a nip-and-tuck affair late, but the Hornets made just enough clutch plays late to improve to 13-11 on the road.

Byron Scott

On how the Thunder got back in the game:
“I thought we just did a poor job defensively, individually. I thought we just got broken down way too many times. And we allowed them to just kind of do what they wanted to do on the defensive end. Offensively we got by them, shots. We got most of the stuff we wanted but I knew this game was going to come down to the defensive end. Rasual (Butler) made a big play with the block and that kind of gave us the opportunity. But (Kevin) Durant was fantastic tonight and I thought Jeff Green played extremely well."
On Chris Paul’s play at the end of the game:
“I told Posey, ‘Make sure you take it out. We have three time outs left.’ And CP [Chris Paul] kind of looked over and I just told him, you know, what we would normally run in that situation and he did a great job of running the clock down so they didn’t have a whole lot of time. Again, it was a situation probably that we shouldn’t have been in. You know, if we did a better job defensively we could have put this game away a lot earlier.

Chris Paul
On adding Tyson Chandler to the Thunder’s young trio:
“Those guys are scary. This (trade) definitely will put them into the future playoff hunt. Look at the game tonight. You put Tyson (Chandler) in with that core right…I’d put Westbrook at the point, Durant at the two, Jeff Green at the three, Nick Collison at the four and Tyson at the five. They are definitely going with the right guy.”
On losing Tyson Chandler in a trade to the Thunder:
“I’m gonna miss him. I’m gonna miss him big-time. He was my “big-fella.” Everybody always talks about how much better I made him but he made me a much better player. He instilled so much confidence in me. Oklahoma City is getting a great player and an even better person.”

David West
On game’s performance:
“I really just wanted to be aggressive. I wanted to come out and make sure I did all I could to give us a shot to win this game. (Thunder) have been playing some really good basketball. They’re one of the up-and-coming teams in the league so we knew they’d be very dangerous here; especially in this building.”

Hornets acquire Wilcox, Smith for Chandler

The New Orleans Hornets announced today that they have acquired forward Joe Smith, center Chris Wilcox and the draft rights to center Devon Hardin from the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for center Tyson Chandler.

“We were able to get great depth, leadership and experience by making this trade,” said Hornets General Manager Jeff Bower. “We felt we needed to increase our overall play of the frontline and Chris Wilcox is a young, athletic player that can score and fit well in our system. We will be able to take advantage of his athleticism and style of play. Joe provides us with much needed depth and someone who can be an integral part of our rotation.”

“First off, I want to wish Tyson the best of luck in OKC, he is an outstanding person and we thank him for his service as a Hornet.” said Hornets Head Coach Byron Scott. “I am excited to be able to get more frontcourt depth in bringing Chris and Joe in, they are experienced NBA players who will be able to step right in and help us. In addition, we get a promising young post player in Hardin.”