Thunder Roll in Second Half to Knock Off Hornets

Charlotte’s Fourth-Quarter Defense Can’t Stop OKC’s Red-Hot Scoring

By Sam Perley

The Hornets surged to a 19-point lead early in the third quarter, but couldn’t slow down a huge Oklahoma City Thunder rally, falling 111-107, on Thursday, Nov. 1 in Charlotte. The loss denied the Hornets a third-consecutive home win, while giving the Thunder a third-straight victory of its own.

Kemba Walker and Malik Monk each finished the night with a team-high 21 points. All but three of Walker’s points came in the second half, while this was the second time in Monk’s career he’s totaled 20 points in consecutive outings.

Charlotte held a 66-47 advantage with around seven minutes remaining in the third, but Oklahoma City got it to within four by the end of the quarter. Both sides went back and forth down the stretch before a Dennis Schröder three-pointer with 1:12 remaining on the clock all but iced the game.

“It was a heck of a run there to start the third quarter. Guys came out with good energy,” said Hornets Head Coach James Borrego. “I think the stretch after we were up 19, we turned it over four times pretty quickly there that led to easy points. We just could not get enough stops down the stretch to get out and run. Their pressure, their urgency picked up and we got to withstand that.”

The Thunder shot 15-of-27 from the field in the final 12 minutes (55.6 percent), while committing zero turnovers. Charlotte went 10-of-20 from the field in the frame (50.0 percent), although had four giveaways leading to four Thunder points.

Tony Parker chipped in 17 points and four assists off the bench for Charlotte, while Jeremy Lamb had 13 points and a team-high-tying nine rebounds. Nicolas Batum did a little bit of everything with 10 points, seven rebounds, a team-high-tying six assists and two steals.

As for the Thunder, Russell Westbrook racked up game highs in scoring (29 points) and assists (10) to go along with eight rebounds and three steals. Álex Abrines added a career-high 25 points (5-of-10 from three), while Schröder had 21 points and five assists.

“Schröder at the rim really hurt us,” added Borrego. “We did not contain him. We should have done a much better job in our containment one-on-one. We could have handled that better and Abrines 25 points, 5-for-10 from the three-point line – that’s a game-plan error on our part. He should have never gotten threes tonight.”

The Hornets are back in action on Saturday, Nov. 3 against the Cleveland Cavaliers starting at 7 p.m. EST in Charlotte.