Russell Westbrook was again working on a triple-double but his Oklahoma City Thunder faltered late against the Charlotte Hornets, 123-112.
Nicolas Batum led the way for the Hornets, scoring 28 points on just 7-of-18 shooting. But the French forward was aggressive to the basket earning 13-of-15 shots from the free throw line.
Kemba Walker added 20 points and was perfect 9-of-9 from the line while Michael Kidd-Gilchrist finally had a good game finishing with a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Westbrook’s near triple-double
The Hornets survived the tough challenge from the Thunder and Westbrook, who just missed out on another triple-double with 33 points, 15 rebounds and 8 assists. The Thunder star shot just 10-of-31 field goals however as OKC struggled for stops in the final quarter when Charlotte outscored them 36-24.
Steven Adams had a double-double of 18 points and 12 rebounds and Enes Kanter came off the bench for 22 points.
The Hornets’ bench played better as a unit. Back-up big man Frank Kaminsky had 17 points and 6 rebounds and four other bench players had seven points or more.
The Hornets vs. Thunder match-up was close most of the game. But Charlotte pulled away in the end game after a slim 102-101 lead with over four minutes to go in the game.
The Thunder dropped to 21-15 for the season and are just 8-9 away from home. They have lost three of their last four games and have an upcoming marquee match-up against West rivals Houston Rockets led by James Harden.
The Harden vs. Westbrook match-up is one of the most anticipated match-ups of the season. Both are early MVP-candidates as they dominated the first part of the season with their triple-doubles.
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Meanwhile, the Hornets bounced back after back-to-back losses to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Chicago Bulls. Charlotte faces the Detroit Pistons in their next game.
Photo Courtesy: Nicolas Batum/Twitter