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Thunder Nip Hornets

Six straight missed free throwns down the stretch doomed the Hornets as they fell to the Thunder 97-92. Russell Westbrook was was big for OKC, scoring 29 points and 10 assists. Kevin Durant added 25, handing the Hornets their seventh loss in the last 10 games. David West had a big game for NOLA, but it wasn’t enough.

David West had 24 points, 13 rebounds and four steals for the Hornets, but scored only six in the second half. Paul had 18 points and five steals, and Marco Belinelli scored 15, but missed a 3-point attempt that could have tied it with a little more than 10 seconds left.

Oklahoma City shot 50 percent, but the Hornets might have pulled out a win if Emeka Okafor, Trevor Ariza and Belinelli hadn’t combined to miss six straight free throws in the final five minutes, a stunning dry spell for a team that hit its first 16 from the foul line.

http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2010/12/10/1403730/westbrook-leads-thunder-past-hornets.html#ixzz17owbxxKm

Ariza and Okafor were responsible for the first five FT misses, as Belinelli then missed the first of two. Ariza and Okafor have never been great free throw shooters, which will always make them a liability late in a close basketball game. Coach Monty Williams always preaches fundamentals. There’s not much more fundamental in basketball than a free throw. It proved to be the nail in the coffin, negating a good defensive performance from the Hornets, who had a season-high 16 steals. Attendance was better at 14,428, and the crowd on hand was loud and active.

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