Hornets.com postgame: Thunder 95, Hornets 89

Monday, November 29, 2010
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

Thunder (12-6), Hornets (12-5)

It was over when… Oklahoma City guard Thabo Sefolosha grabbed Marco Belinelli’s missed three-pointer with 8 seconds remaining, then sank two free throws to give the Thunder an insurmountable eight-point edge. The Thunder had trailed 81-75 earlier in the fourth period, but went on a game-breaking 14-0 run. The Hornets missed nine straight shots from the field during the critical stretch.

"The ball didn't go down," Monty Williams said of his team's final-quarter scoring drought with the outcome at stake. "That happens in this league. If you hold a team like (Oklahoma City) to 95 points, you give yourselves a chance to win.

"I think we're getting (good) shots, but I do think our guys are a bit tired... We've had a tough stretch up until this point, going out to the West Coast, then coming back and then heading immediately back out on the road. We're a no-excuses team, but the reality is this was a tough stretch."

Hornets MVP: Prior to being poked in the left eye on an errant swipe at the ball by Oklahoma City’s Serge Ibaka, David West scored 18 of his team-best 20 points. The two-time All-Star tallied 10 points in the third quarter, powering New Orleans to a 22-18 advantage in that stanza and the lead. On a night when Chris Paul took a frightening spill on the baseline – he slipped on a towel but was ultimately OK – West was forced to attempt two key free throws despite barely being able to keep his left eye open. West, an 84.2 percent career foul shooter, missed both, clanging the second off the backboard and heel of the rim.

Hornets Sixth Man of the Game: Quincy Pondexter’s +4 was the only plus-minus among the reserves that wound up on the positive side of the ledger. Pondexter made one defensive hustle play that led to a fast-break dunk on the other end; he also scored a fourth-period bucket, one of only seven field goals for New Orleans in the final 12 minutes. Pondexter’s defense and energy earned him nine minutes, a day after he logged one vs. San Antonio.

The buzz on… Jarrett Jack’s first week in a Hornets uniform. The 6-foot-3 backup point guard has been thrown right into the Western Conference fire early in his New Orleans tenure, playing five games over the past eight days, with each of the past four against high-caliber conference foes. While Jack’s game experience has come fast and furious, the schedule has also meant the team has only been able to hold one abbreviated practice since Jack and David Andersen’s arrival in the trade with Toronto. It’s reasonable to expect that once Jack is able to get a few practices under his belt, it will benefit his comfort within the team’s offense. Jack is a career 45.0 percent field-goal shooter – a starting-caliber rate for a point guard – but has struggled to locate his touch over the handful of NOLA games. The Georgia Tech product is 7-for-23 (30 percent) from the floor.

Blog question of the night: The Hornets closed the month of November at 12-5, exceeding virtually all expectations, despite going 1-4 over the past week. What would you consider a successful month of December? Although players aren’t supposed to look past the next game on the schedule, it’s OK for fans and media to do so. Here is the list of New Orleans’ games this month:

Home (9): Charlotte, New York, Detroit, Oklahoma City, Sacramento, Utah, New Jersey, Atlanta, L.A. Lakers
Away (6): San Antonio, Philadelphia, Miami, Detroit, Indiana, Minnesota, Boston