Durant's triple-double leads Thunder rout of Hornets
BY BILL HAISTEN World Sports Writer
Thursday, February 28, 2013
2/28/13 at 8:50 AM
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OKLAHOMA CITY - Because Kevin Durant is the three-time defending NBA scoring champion, the first inclination when examining an Oklahoma City stat sheet is to check his scoring total.
Entering Wednesday's meeting with the New Orleans Hornets, Durant led the league with a 28.8-point average. Through one quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena, he had only two points. By halftime, he had 12.
By those who bought tickets specifically to watch Durant get buckets, it might have been considered a slow start.
Instead, it was the start of one of the more complete performances of Durant's season. With 18 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists, he recorded his second triple-double in a week and only the third of his six-season career. Russell Westbrook scored 29 points in only 26 minutes, and the Thunder rolled to a 119-74 victory over New Orleans.
For the 12th time this season, Durant did not play during the fourth period of a Thunder blowout win. During the third period, he was informed that he was approaching triple-double totals.
"I've got a good relationship with those guys at the scorer's table," said Durant, who also had triple-double stat lines in last week's loss at Houston and during a November win over Golden State. "When you get a triple-double, people think it's just about the guy who gets it. Your teammates make great plays to put you in that position."
Three consecutive Durant assists - on a Westbrook lob-catch layup, a Serge Ibaka dunk and a Westbrook 3-pointer - pushed the Oklahoma City lead to 33 points (85-52) with 5:24 left in the third period.
"There's no question that K.D. has improved his playmaking. It's been a process the last couple of years," OKC coach Scott Brooks said. "K.D. has the potential to get a triple-double (on) many nights."
The Hornets (20-39) were depleted as rookie center Anthony Davis and guard Eric Gordon are injured and did not play. The 45-point margin of victory matched Oklahoma City's season high. On Nov. 26, the Thunder rocked Charlotte 114-69.
For the first time since the Thunder relocated to Oklahoma City, the team has recorded two consecutive victories of at least 30 points. On Sunday, OKC battered the Chicago Bulls by 30 (102-72).
Now 42-15 and trailing San Antonio by two games in the Western Conference, the Thunder visits Denver on Friday (9:30 p.m., ESPN), visits the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday (2:30 p.m., KTUL-8), hosts the L.A. Lakers on Tuesday (8:30 p.m., TNT) and visits the New York Knicks on March 7 (7 p.m., TNT).
Wednesday's Oklahoma City production featured two Fishers - Starr Fisher, a Tulsa vocalist who performed the national anthem; and Derek Fisher, the veteran point guard who spent three months with the Thunder last season, played a few games with the Dallas Mavericks in December and was re-signed by OKC this week.
At 38 years and 202 days, Fisher is the NBA's sixth-oldest player (behind Grant Hill (40), Kurt Thomas (40), Jason Kidd (39), Steve Nash (39) and Marcus Camby (38). At the time of the birth of Reggie Jackson, the Thunder's 22-year-old backup point guard, Fisher was a high school sophomore.
In the first game of his Thunder encore, Fisher played 21 minutes. He was scoreless on four shots from the field. As an OKC player last season, Fisher wore jersey No. 37 - symbolizing his age at the time. For his second tour of duty, he chose No. 6 - symbolizing his quest for a sixth NBA title. As a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, Fisher got five championship rings.
Making his debut in a Thunder uniform was former Arkansas Razorback star Ronnie Brewer, acquired last week from the New York Knicks. Brewer played the entire fourth quarter, totaling five points and four rebounds.
"The foundation of this team is built on a group of great guys," Brewer said. "Just to be a part of this team, it makes me want to elevate my game."
Thunder up next
At Denver 9:30 p.m. Friday
TV: FSOK-27, ESPN-25
Radio: KYAL fm97.1
Original Print Headline: Durant's effort leads Thunder triumph
Bill Haisten 918-581-8397
New Orleans forward Lance Thomas fouls Oklahoma City guard Thabo Sefolosha during Wednesday's game in Oklahoma City. ALONZO ADAMS / Associated Press