OKLAHOMA CITY - Kevin Durant racked up his second triple double of the year as Oklahoma City routed New Orleans 119-74 Wednesday at the Chesapeake Energy Arena. The 45-point victory ties a season high.
Durant finished with 18 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists, one turnover in only 27 minutes of work. Several of the assists were of the no-look variety that had the fans just as excited as if he had thrown down a dunk.
Not to be overshadowed, Russell Westbrook scored a game-high 29 points on 8-for-17 shooting. He was 12-for-12 from the free throw line. Serge Ibaka added 18 points and seven rebounds and Kevin Martin scored 14 points off the bench.
Ryan Anderson was the only New Orleans starter to reach double figures. He scored all 14 of his points in the first half. The backcourt of Austin Rivers and Greivis Vasquez accounted for 15 points and 11 assists.
New Orleans (20-29) suffered one its worst defeats of the season. No. 1 overall pick Anthony Davis and Eric Gordon both sat out due to injuries. Davis has a left shoulder sprain and was left at home. The Hornets have made it a practice of sitting guard Eric Gordon the second of back-to-back games since his return from a knee injury.
With New Orleans playing shorthanded, Westbrook took advantage from the outset. The All-Star point guard scored 18 points in the first period and almost outscored the Hornets by himself. The Thunder led 30-21 heading into the second.
Newly acquired Derek Fisher entered the game for the first time to start the second. Even though he wasn't brought to the Thunder (42-15) to be a main cog in the machine, coach Scott Brooks said his presence has already given his team a boost.
"Yesterday at practice, you saw the energy in the gym," Brooks said. "When you have familiar face, particularity with Fish, you just create excitement. Everybody appreciates what Fish brings to our team and what he did for our group last year. He brings us valuable experience. He's a good guy to have around. The guy knows how to play."
But it was Anderson who made the biggest impact in the period as he kept finding himself wide-open around the 3-point line. He knocked down the open shots and closed Oklahoma City's 14 lead to six points with 3:30 left in the half.
However, Durant and Serge Ibaka spearheaded a 17-6 run to end the quarter, and Oklahoma City led 62-45 at halftime.
Without Gordon and Davis, the Hornets' options on offense were limited. Everything was ran through Vasquez and Rivers. They tried to go one-on-one or get the ball to Anderson on the perimeter. When the Thunder closed those avenues down, New Orleans struggled to find a shot.
Conversely, Oklahoma City found several ways to put the ball through the net, often on assists from Durant. His pass to Westbrook in the corner for a 3-pointer gave him his 10th and final assist for the night. The Thunder led 96-60 heading into the fourth quarter, and the starters rested for the final 12 minutes.
NOTES: Davis and Gordon missed the Dec. 12 contest in Oklahoma City with injuries. "This is a normal reality for us because we have been here before with those two positions," Hornets coach Monty Williams said. "So it''s an easy transition for us." ... Ronnie Brewer made his season debut with Oklahoma City since he was traded to the Thunder. In the stands was his father, Ron Brewer, who played at Arkansas and had a long NBA career. "He played way back when," Ronnie Brewer said. "So I really don't know what his game was like." ... Fisher made his season debut with the Thunder after signing Monday. He started the season with Dallas but asked to be released so he could spend time with his family. "We're not just bringing him in here to tell stories about Kobe and Shaq and eat smores," Brooks said. "He's going to play."