There was some discussion earlier today as to whether the Thunder had anything left after last night’s epic clash with the Nuggets, and the answer seems to be “Enough, but just barely.” Missing two more players — James Harden and Nick Collison were sidelined with (let us hope) minor injuries — OKC ran out to a 60-38 halftime lead over New Orleans, only to see the Hornets, somewhat depleted themselves, battle back to within six with just under a minute left. The final was 101-93, meaning the Bees outscored the Thunder 55-41 in the second half; “We got a little complacent,” said Royal Ivey, and I have no reason to doubt him.
Telltale statistic: New Orleans had five players in double figures; OKC had, well, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. And the Hornets got off 11 more shots, though they shot a mere 36 percent. The Thunder blocked 13 shots — Kendrick Perkins had six, Serge Ibaka nine — and everyone but Perk had at least one steal; but still, the Hornets made seven of 14 treys and had six more offensive rebounds. Jarrett Jack, running the offense for the New Orleans second unit, led the Hornets with 18 points.
As for the Bobbsey Twins, they had similar-looking lines to go with their 31 points each, though Westbrook served up more assists and Durant snatched more rebounds. For some reason, the Thunder put up 26 treys, 18 of which failed to connect; Daequan Cook, who’s maintaining a second home in Slumpville, missed eight all by his lonesome. (Take the missed treys out of the equation, and the Thunder would have shot nearly 52 percent.) Only four bench players got minutes, and in aggregate they failed to outscore Jarrett Jack.
What the Thunder need right now is a day off and then a game against a team from the East. By coincidence, the Celtics will be here Wednesday, minus Rajon Rondo, who drew a two-game suspension for playing Dodge Ball with an official. Yeah, the Lakers follow on Thursday; but you know, that other L. A. team is a lot scarier these days.