The Oklahoma City Thunder picked up its third straight victory and 10th win in 11 games with a 101-91 win over the New Orleans Hornets Wednesday night in front of a sold out crowd in OKC.
Despite 21 OKC turnovers and an off night for guard Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka stepped in to lead the Thunder on both ends of the floor tallying 10 points and six rebounds in the first half of play.
The Hornets, who were without guard Eric Gordon, started the game slow and didn't score until three minutes into the game. According to Hornets head coach Monty Williams, Gordon will miss at least the next three weeks as he recovers from a bruised right knee.
Oklahoma City (15-3) led the entire game even though Westbrook started 1-for-10 and had four early turnovers. Kevin Durant went 5-for-5 from the field and scored 16 points.
Nevertheless, OKC led by as many as 14 in the first half and at the break held a 60-51 advantage.
The Hornets (3-15) made it a two point game with just over nine minutes left in the game, but Westbrook came alive to hit back-to-back shots to close out the win for OKC.
Ten of Westbrook's 14 points came in the fourth quarter while Ibaka finished with 14 points, two blocks and seven rebounds.
OKC's turnovers were once again the downfall of the night. James Harden and Daequan Cook thankfully off-set the turnover margin by coming off the bench to score a combined 27 points. Cook went 3-for-3 from both the field as well as the three-point line while Harden poured in 18 points and six assists.
"Just too many turnovers," said Thunder head coach Scott Brooks after the game. "Don't know. It's not like we don't work on it. It's happening and we have to correct it. We controlled the boards and the turnovers were a big part of the game. We have to do a much better job with the ball."
Durant led all scorers with 25 points, seven rebounds and three blocks.
Jarrett Jack paced the Hornets scoring 20 points while Gustavo Ayon came off the bench to tally 16 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the floor. Ayon was previously averaging just 3.2 points per contest.
Oklahoma City native and former Kansas standout Xavier Henry made his first appearance of the season for New Orleans. He scored three points on 1-for-5 shooting.
As a team the Thunder shot 53 percent from the floor to the Hornets 46.7 percent.
Oklahoma City's 15-3 record is the best in the Western Conference and the Thunder is now 6-0 on the year when shooting 50 percent or better from the field.
OKC returns to action Friday, Jan. 27 on the road against Golden State.