Hornets Play Well But Lose to the Thunder, 92-88
The New Orleans Hornets put up a great defensive effort against the Oklahoma City Thunder on the road yesterday evening, but were unable to keep pace in the final minutes, losing 92-88.
The New Orleans defense kept the Thunder to season-low scoring at the end of the first quarter (17 points) and before halftime (36 points). Their strategy: to keep the NBA’s top scoring team to a low output that they could attempt to match.
The Hornets led by eight at the half, limiting OKC to 30 percent shooting. Coming out of the break, New Orleans continued to push, creating plays like an Austin Rivers drive to the basket for a short jumper with 2:01 left in the third quarter, which extended the Hornets lead to 62-51.
The Thunder responded with a 7-0 run at the end of the 3rd, however; setting the tone for the 4th. They shot 70% from the field and 3-4 from three-point range. Kevin Durant scored 13 of his 35 points in the final quarter.
The lead changed five times, and was tied twice in the final quarter.
Brian Roberts buried a three-pointer with nine seconds left to bring New Orleans within one. Immediately after, Hornets forward Al-Farouq Aminu fouled Durant. The Thunders’ All-Star forward, who shoots 89% from the line, missed the first shot and made the second, and the score was 90-88.
Hornets Head Coach Monty Williams called for the timeout. Only 8.1 seconds remained on the clock when the Hornets inbounded the ball, opening up a Greivis Vasquez three-point attempt with 2.9 seconds remaining... But it fell just short.
“I think tonight is the way that we play. We play hard and we play aggressive,” said the Hornets’ Greivis Vasquez after the game. “We gave ourselves a chance to win again, especially against the best team in the West. There’s no question that they are the best team, and we came here to their house and competed the way that we did tonight — it showed how we’re growing and we’re going to continue to get better. We have to pick up our play and we have to effort and intensity. We may not be the most talented team but we got to put in a good effort from now on.”
Every Hornet that dressed put points on the board tonight. Off the bench, Brian Roberts led New Orleans with 16 points. The Hornets bench outscored the Thunder bench 39-28.
Anthony Davis, who came off the bench for the second game since his return, contributed 11 points, 4 rebounds, 1 block and 1 steal.