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Thunder have no problem with Hornets, ready to face Celtics, Lakers in back-to-back nights

February 22, 2012

OKLAHOMA CITY — Coming off an emotional overtime win Sunday night against the Denver Nuggets, it would have been no surprise if the Oklahoma City Thunder came out a little flat against the New Orleans Hornets Monday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena. This wasn’t the case, however, as the Thunder took a 60-38 lead at the break and cruised to a 101-93 victory.
After a historic night against the Nuggets in which Kevin Durant (51) and Russell Westbrook (40) combined to score 91 points — and Serge Ibaka added a triple double (14 points, 15 rebounds and 11 blocks) — the Thunder led by the Hornets by 26 in the first half and had to hang on for the eight-point victory.
"I thought we came out with great energy to start the game, and that was a concern after (Sunday) night,” Oklahoma City Thunder Coach Scott Brooks said. “Serge (Ibaka) and Perk (Kendrick Perkins) really protected the paint. This is a no excuse league. Yeah, we have some guys who are out, but we have enough to play."
Key back-ups Nick Collison (left quad contusion) and James Harden (sprained left ankle) sat on the bench in street clothes.
“We brought the energy from the beginning,” Durant said. “We were down a few guys, but I think the guys on the bench stepped up and played hard for us. We had a few slip-ups in the third, and, obviously, in the fourth. But I think we did a good job overall of playing hard.”
Durant and Westbrook finished with 31 points apiece, and the Thunder won their 10th in a row at home.
It was another sellout for Oklahoma City, its 28th consecutive game at the Chesapeake Energy Arena. The Thunder have two tough games at home this week against the Boston Celtics tonight and the Los Angeles Lakers Thursday night before the All-Star Break this weekend.

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