By Matt Rochinski, hornets.com
Kemba Walker scored 19 points, Marvin Williams added 16 points and Dwight Howard notched a double-double (11 points, 17 rebounds) but Oklahoma City was able to cool a hot-shooting Charlotte squad in the second half on the way to a 101-91 Thunder victory. The Hornets connected on 53.8 percent of their shots in the first half on the way to 58 points, but only hit 27.3 percent for 32 points in the second half on the way to the loss.
Charlotte took an 80-79 lead on a Jeremy Lamb jumper with 10:25 remaining in the fourth quarter, but a Hornets bench that was pivotal in helping turn the tide in Charlotte’s comeback from 12 points down in the first half, went cold in a 4:18 second stretch. The Hornets went just 2-of-7 from the field in the stretch, with Lamb the only Charlotte player to hit a field goal, while the Thunder made 6-of-8 shots. Oklahoma City outscored Charlotte, 16-4, led by eight points from former Charlotte guard Raymond Felton, pushing the Thunder’s lead to double digits, 95-84, and the Hornets were unable to rally.
Hornets Player of the Game (Pick up your Marvin Williams gear here)
Marvin Williams had his second-straight strong outing for the Hornets, nearly finishing with a double-double (16 points, nine rebounds) while adding four assists, which marked his new season high. Williams drained 6-of-9 shots from the field, including 3-of-5 attempts from beyond the arc.
Thunder Player of the Game
Russell Westbrook came close to recording a triple-double, finishing with 25 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. Westbrook also swiped two steals and blocked one shot.
Dwight Howard recorded his 23rd double-double of the season with 11 points and 17 rebounds. This marked the second-most double-doubles recorded by a Charlotte player in franchise history (42, Al Jefferson, 2013-14)… With three blocks against the Thunder, Howard now has 1,971 blocks in his career. He is the active NBA leader in this category and is in 19th place on the NBA’s all-time leader board… The game was played in front of a sellout crowd of 19,624 at Spectrum Center… Oklahoma CIty’s bench outscored Charlotte’s, 35-27… The Thunder had a 20-6 advantage in second-chance points, a 44-34 lead in points in the paint and a 10-9 edge on the fast break… The loss was the Hornets first to the Thunder in their last four matches.
Quote of the Night
“32 points in the second half was far too few obviously. It looked to me like we ran out of gas in that second half. We started the quarter pretty good but after the second group went in they seemed tired. Our first group seemed tired too. A back to back with a quick turnaround was a tough one. We have to quickly regroup and get ready for our afternoon game in Detroit, watch the film, learn from it and move on.” – Associate Head Coach Stephen Silas
The Hornets head to Detroit for a Martin Luther King Jr. Day matinee when they tip off at 12:30 p.m. on Monday in Detroit. The game can be seen on FOX Sports Southeast or heard on WFNZ or on the official Charlotte Hornets mobile app.