Russell Westbrook leads Oklahoma City Thunder past New Orleans Hornets

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Brock Lesnar

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  • Russell Westbrook leads Oklahoma City Thunder past New Orleans Hornets

Russell Westbrook leads Oklahoma City Thunder past New Orleans Hornets

Russell Westbrook spearheaded a late fourth quarter rally to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder escape with a hard-earned 95-89 win over the New Orleans Hornets on Monday 29 November at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City.

Westbrook finished with 25 points on 9-for-19 shooting from the field, highlighted by his 12 points in the final period that sparked a 14-0 run that led to their 12th win of the season against only two defeats.

“Sometimes when my teammates are down and not making shots, it's an opportunity for me to be able to step up and help us win the game,” said Westbrook, who also had 11 assists, five rebounds, and five steals for the Thunder.

Kevin Durant also had a share of the spotlight as he finished with 26 points and 11 rebounds, but the reigning NBA scoring champion admitted that he had to take a back seat down the stretch and let Westbrook impose his dominance.

“This is the new Russell,” said Durant, who only shot 7-for-22 from the field and 0-for-5 from the three-point line. “He's just taking over games and controlling the games. That's what we need for us to win. As a leader, you've got to do whatever it takes to win. I think that I did that tonight.”

Down by six points, 81-75, with less than six minutes left in the game, New Orleans, who controlled the flow of the game right from the opening tip, were on their way to bag their 13th win of the season, but Westbrook sparked the 14-0 blast, scoring 12 points during that stretch that gave the Thunder an 89-81 lead with 43.6 seconds left in the game.

“He's an All-Star. He probably won't get the votes, unless somebody puts him in the game,” said Hornets head coach Monty Williams on Westbrook. “That guy is playing at a level that you scout for him for about 10 or 15 minutes of your practice because his pick-and-roll, he's shooting the ball now, he gets to the free-throw line about 10 times a game.”

Chris Paul had 17 points, 14 assists, and five steals; David West added 20 points and seven rebounds, while Emeka Okafor racked up 13 points and 11 rebounds, but their collective efforts were not enough to prevent the Hornets from absorbing their fourth defeat in their last five games.

“I thought we competed our tails off tonight on the road in a tough back-to-back,” said coach Williams. “The ball didn't go down. It happens in this league. If you hold a team like that to 95 points, you give yourself a chance.”

The Hornets will try to end their slump when they go up against the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday 1 December, while the Thunder will gun for their second straight win when they travel to the New Jersey to face the Nets also on Wednesday night.


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