Charlotte Hornets Snap Two-Game Skid With Home Victory Over Westbrook and OKC
The Charlotte Hornets (20-16) were able to defeat the Oklahoma City Thunder (21-15) as they snapped their two-game losing streak at home. The victory comes behind one of Nicolas Batum’s best performances of the season. While Russell Westbrook had his usual big game, Charlotte didn;t allow him to get a triple-double.
Marco Belinelli returned to the Hornets’ rotation for the first time after missing five straight games with a sprained left ankle. He played 14 minutes in his return and scored seven points. Cody Zeller missed his second consecutive game with a concussion. It is unclear when he will return as Cody’s in the midst of the NBA’s concussion protocol.
This game was neck and neck throughout as neither side could find a decisive advantage. The game was played within a 10-point margin until the final minute. OKC tied the game at 101 with 5:40 left in the fourth quarter but the Hornets turned it on from there on out as they executed down the stretch. Charlotte outscored the Thunder 22-11 to close out the game. Westbrook and company couldn’t manage to find easy shots in the closing moments of the final period.
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Who Stepped Up
Nicolas Batum led the charge for the Hornets with a season-high 28 points to go along with four assists and three rebounds. Kemba Walker also had himself a game with 20 points, nine assists, and four rebounds. Frank Kaminsky had one of his best games of the season as he stepped up with 17 points and six boards off the bench.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist not only had a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds but he also did a great job of checking Russell Westbrook for most of the match. Jeremy Lamb and Ramon Sessions each chipped in with nine points.
Oklahoma City was led by Westbrook who finished with 33 points, 15 rebounds, and eight assists. Even though he put up big numbers, Charlotte held him to 10-31 shooting from the field and 2-12 from the three-point line. Enes Kanter added 22 points and eight rebounds for the Thunder. Steven Adams scored 18 points and grabbed 12 rebounds while Victor Oladipo scored 18 as well.
Play of the Game:
— Charlotte Hornets (@hornets) January 5, 2017
Tweet of the Game:
this game is the formula of what they can do at their best. https://t.co/5JKLP4scDc
— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) January 5, 2017
With the win, the Hornets improve to 1-0 in their season series against the Thunder. The two sides will meet once more this year when Charlotte travels to Oklahoma City on April 2nd. This was a statement win for the home team after losing their two previous games.
In their next game, the Charlotte Hornets will hit the road to take on the Detroit Pistons for the third time this season. This will be the first game of a five-game road trip for Steve Clifford’s side. The momentum from this win should help propel the team into their road trip as they will be looking for favorable results away from home.