THUNDER 110
HORNETS 95
0 Lead changes throughout the game, one in which the Thunder led wire-to-wire

5 Players who scored in double figures for the Thunder (Kevin Durant, Kevin Martin, Serge Ibaka, Thabo Sefolosha and Russell Westbrook)

9 Rebounds for Hasheem Thabeet on the night, one shy of a season-high

9-for-12 Shooting numbers for Kevin Durant, including 4-for-5 shooting from three, en route to 27 points

12 Assists for Russell Westbrook, a part of yet another double-double

14 Three-pointers made by the Thunder, the most by the organization

22 First half points for Kevin Martin, tying his own league-best mark for scoring in a half by a player off the bench

31 Assists by the Thunder on the night, including one assist each by nine players

GAME IN REVIEW


RECAP:
When the Thunder hounds its opponents like it did on Friday night, their defense can be devastating.

Head Coach Scott Brooks' club jumped out to a 36-18 lead in the first quarter and never looked back on its way to a 110-95 victory road victory over the New Orleans Hornets, holding its opponents to 35 percent shooting in the first quarter and 42 percent overall. The on-ball defense by perimeter players like Russell Westbrook and Thabo Sefolosha spurred on the squad, with defensive stops leading to easy scoring opportunities.

"They played with a lot of aggression," Brooks said. "I thought that was the key to our start. That's how we want to play. We want to be aggressive on the ball, we want to be aggressive on the cuts and we want to be aggressive on the shots."

The defensive anchor may be Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka is always an imposing force protecting the paint, but the defense always starts with Westbrook, whose pressure on the Hornets' ball-handlers forced the Thunder's opponents into a lot of difficult shots and wasted possessions. When Westbrook really gets into his man it inspires his teammates, which led to a full team defensive effort by the Thunder, which held the Hornets to 37 points in the first half.

"It was one of his better games on both ends of the floor," Brooks said of Westbrook. "He was disruptive. When he plays like that, it puts a lot of pressure on the opponent, puts a lot of pressure on the team and their point guard to run the offense. I thought his effort and intensity was at the highest I've ever seen."

When the Thunder gets stops, it usually leads to easy scoring opportunities on the other end, or for the Thunder to initiate its offense early in the shot clock. Tonight the Thunder utilized chances in the secondary break to find teammates for open jump shots. An extremely hot shooting night by Kevin Martin was made possible by great ball-movement and floor spacing. Martin had 22 first half points and Westbrook finished with 12 of a Thunder season-high 31 assists, providing the Thunder with good looks all night.

"I think we did a great job defensively putting pressure on them, making them take tough shots and we got out and got some easy baskets," Westbrook said. "Guys were moving the ball. I think everybody did a great job of making the extra pass, and guys were making shots."

Westbrook recorded yet another double-double, Martin scored 27 points and Kevin Durant also threw in 27 points on only 12 shots to go with nine rebounds and five assists, in only three quarters. The Thunder continued its undefeated streak when five-or-more players score in double figures, as Serge Ibaka and Thabo Sefolosha also got into the action. In all, it was an unselfish, focused and efficient offensive effort that saw Brooks' scorers erupt for 66 first half points in a mature road victory.

"Our team is growing up, we understand what is needed out there and how we need to play," Brooks said. "Kevin (Martin) was aggressive, we found K-Mart for some great looks, gave him some shots and (Durant) was aggressive also. He was terrific with five assists and he only took 12 shots."


Turning Point:
The Thunder led 17-7 mid-way through the first quarter, then went on a 19-9 run to break open the game, building up a 20 point lead at 36-26 and ensuring the game would never get back within single digits the rest of the way. Russell Westbrook got to the hoop for a layup, Kevin Martin hit Nick Collison for an easy bucket, then Martin scored eight straight points of his own on two three pointers and two free throws during the run.

Plays the box score won't show, first half:
Incredible hustle by Kevin Durant to dive onto the floor to come up with a loose ball, then he pitches it to Russell Westbrook, leading to a Kevin Martin layup. Great ball movement by the Thunder to make four passes on one possession to get a three pointer. Perfect extra pass from Perkins from the mid-post to Sefoosha for three.

Plays the box score won't show, second half:
Perfect body control by Westbrook to drive into the lane to kick the ball to Sefolosha, who hit Durant for three. Westbrook's intensity on the defensive end is smothering, forcing a turnover. Great defense by the Thunder as a unit to force a shot clock violation.



"Offensively we were moving the ball, had great spacing and we were making shots. We built the confidence through the defense, and you always want that with our team... We wanted to get into the ball. We really wanted to force the tempo of the game in our favor." – Head Coach Scott Brooks
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