Thunder-Hornets Preview

The Associated Press

Kevin Durant has played some of his best basketball against the New Orleans Hornets, which may mean more good news for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Streaking Oklahoma City seeks its fifth straight victory when it visits New Orleans on Wednesday night.

Durant's 22 points and 11 rebounds combined with Russell Westbrook's season-high 30 points helped the Thunder (9-2) to a 100-95 win at Memphis on Tuesday, giving them their fourth consecutive win - all in a five-night span.

"We're a tough team, a tough-minded team,'' Durant said of Oklahoma City's grueling recent schedule. "We didn't let that hinder us, playing that many games in so many days. We didn't worry about it. We just take it a possession at a time, a game at a time, and I think that's the best way to get through it.''

Westbrook has struggled at times this season, but coach Scott Brooks hopes Tuesday's performance was a sign of things to come.

"We'll take that any night," Brooks said. "He really controlled the game and controlled the tempo. He did a good job of picking his spots and running the plays.''

If Durant's history against the Hornets is any indication, the Thunder - who have won five of their last six meetings with the Hornets - should have a good chance to keep rolling.

Durant scored 43 points in Oklahoma City's 104-93 victory over New Orleans on Feb. 2, hitting 14 of 19 shots from the floor while adding 10 rebounds and five assists.

He set his career high with 47 points against New Orleans on Feb. 17, 2009 - later matched last Jan. 26 versus Minnesota - and is averaging 31.0 points in his last nine games against the Hornets.

That may not bode well for New Orleans (3-6), though it is coming off a strong performance.

The Hornets ended a six-game losing streak with Monday's 94-81 victory at Denver, shooting a season-high 52.0 percent despite missing Eric Gordon for a seventh game as he recovers from a bruised right knee.

Carl Landry scored 21 points and Chris Kaman added 20 for the Hornets, who now will seek to end a three-game home skid.

"It feels good to get the monkey off your back,'' Landry said. "Losing six in a row is never easy, I don't care what sport it is.''

Jarrett Jack was questionable with a sprained right foot but decided to play through the pain and scored 13 points while adding nine assists in 35 minutes.

"We would not have won without him," coach Monty Williams said.

Jack's 15.8 points per game lead the team, and he's well aware New Orleans needs him in Gordon's absence.

"I just tried to be there for my guys who work so hard for coach and myself," Jack said. "They do everything demanded of them everyday in practice and I feel like I would have let them down if I didn't come out there and try and give it a go."

New Orleans has yet to crack the 100-point mark this season, and is averaging an anemic 87.3 per game.

The Hornets have been held below 100 points in seven consecutive meetings with the Thunder.

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