Thunder 98, Bobcats 91
Russell Westbrook controlled the game, and his new backup helped
Kevin Durant scored 30 points, Westbrook had 22 and the Oklahoma
City Thunder held off the Charlotte Bobcats 98-91 on Saturday
Nenad Krstic added 13 points and 10 rebounds for the surprising
Thunder, who improved to 15-14. They didn’t earn their 15th win
last season until the 60th game, on March 2.
Point guard Westbrook had six assists and no turnovers in nearly
“He did a great job running the team,” Thunder coach Scott
Brooks said. “He gave us a lot of opportunities to score, he set
our guys up for good shots. Thirty-five minutes with zero
turnovers? I’ll take that every night.”
Eric Maynor, recently acquired from Utah, keyed an early flurry
and made all three shots in 13 minutes.
“The guys welcomed me in, it’s good that we’ve got two
victories since I been here,” Maynor said. “I’m just looking
forward to continuing.”
A near-capacity crowd of 17,961 showed up at the 18,203-seat
Ford Center, two nights after the biggest snowstorm (14 inches) in
Oklahoma City history.
Stephen Jackson had 24 points for the Bobcats, who dropped to
1-13 on the road.
“Score more points than our opponent,” Charlotte coach Larry
Brown said when asked what it will take to win on the road. “That
is what all my coaches have always told me.”
Early in the second half Oklahoma City led by as many as 12
points, 62-50, after a 12-0 run. But Charlotte didn’t go away,
twice closing within four in the final 2 minutes.
Beginning late in the first quarter, the Thunder built a 37-27
lead on the strength of a 17-0 run.
Maynor, playing in his first home game since being acquired by
the Thunder, led the scoring spree. He had seven of the final 10
points during that span, scoring after a steal, on a driving layup
and with a 3-pointer.
After Oklahoma City went ahead 39-29, Charlotte answered with a
12-0 run. But the Thunder led 53-50 at halftime.
“You have to come in the game with the same confidence as you
do at home, and you (can’t) make mistakes because the home team
already has the advantage,” Jackson said.
NOTES: The Thunder are 12-1 when they score 100 points or more.
The lone loss was 111-108 on Dec. 22 at the Los Angeles Lakers. …
Oklahoma City’s previous eight games were against teams with a
composite winning percentage of .626. Now, including Charlotte, the
Thunder’s next nine opponents have a .379 winning percentage. …
The Bobcats were 3-6 when they acquired Jackson last month. They
are 8-11 since. … Charlotte forward Gerald Wallace came in
averaging 41 minutes per game, tops in the NBA. He played 45.