It was the first ever matchup between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Charlotte Hornets. We're still waiting on the first good matchup.
Even with Kevin Durant still sidelined with his injured ankle, the Thunder played their best game of the season on Friday night as they cruised to a 98-75 win.
Russell Westbrook was a one-man wrecking crew, pouring in 29 points in only 25 minutes. The Hornets' entire starting lineup only combined to score 30 in 112 total minutes. It was that bad.
“He's having a great month,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said of Westbrook. “And we focus on all of the things he does well; we don't focus on the three or four bad minutes.”
Serge Ibaka drained three 3-pointers and finished with 13 points and 14 boards. His hot shooting helped the Thunder seize control right out of the gate. OKC led 33-24 after the first and 59-40 at the half.
Charlotte never threatened.
In an empty-the-bench type of night, 12 Thunder players scored, while Grant Jerrett tried his best. The second-year forward missed all five of his 3-point attempts. Anthony Morrow led the OKC bench with 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting including 3-of-6 from downtown.
Oklahoma City held the Hornets to a frigid 28.7 percent from the floor and 20.8 percent from downtown. OKC also forced 15 Charlotte turnovers.
“To come with that defensive effort for 48 minutes, I'm really proud of our effort,” Brooks said. “I thought that set the tone at the start of that game, we locked in defensively throughout the game. It was solid.”
Brian Roberts led Charlotte with 17 while Marvin Williams added 11. After that…it was a disaster. Al Jefferson, one of the league's top big men, finished with only four points. Kemba Walker shot just 2-of-13 for six points. Gerald Henderson shot 1-of-7 and Gary Neal just 1-of-8.
Oklahoma City crept back closer to the elusive .500 mark. The Thunder (15-16) can draw even with a win in Dallas on Sunday.