New Orleans Hornets at Oklahoma City Thunder
- New Orleans lost at home last night to the Washington Wizards, 77-70. The Hornets were up four entering the fourth quarter, but scored just 10 fourth-quarter points to drop to 5-15. It was New Orleans fourth consecutive loss, sixth in its last seven and it is 2-13 in its last 15 games. The 10 fourth-quarter points scored by the Hornets were the fewest scored in the final quarter by New Orleans since April 26, 2012 at Houston when the Hornets were outscored 21-6 in the final frame in an 84-77 loss to the Rockets.
- Oklahoma City has the league's longest active win streak at eight, has won 11 of the last 12 and 16 of the last 18. The Thunder have scored at least 100 points in 12 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the NBA.
- The Thunder have won six straight versus the Hornets and 10 of their last 11. Oklahoma City has won five straight over New Orleans in Oklahoma. The last Hornets' victory in Oklahoma City was January 6, 2010 when David West (19 pts) and Chris Paul (14 pts, 13 ast, 3 stl) led the Hornets to a 97-92 win over the Thunder.
- Number One overall pick Anthony Davis has missed 13 of the Hornets' first 20 games this season due to injury (concussion & ankle), but he did return last night against the Wizards after missing 11 straight due to a sore left ankle. Davis played just over half the game (24:54) and had 13 points, eight rebounds, three blocked shots and three steals in a losing effort.
- Ryan Anderson leads the NBA with 67 made three-point baskets.
- Kevin Durant has scored at least 15 points in 82 consecutive games dating back to January 2, 2012. It is the longest active streak in the NBA. The Hornets do not have a single active player with as many as 82 career games with 15-plus points. Leading scorer Ryan Anderson has 81 such games in his NBA career and currently injured Hornets player Eric Gordon has 141 15-plus point games to his credit.
By MATT BEARDMORE
(AP) -- The Oklahoma City Thunder can get up and down the floor with any team in the NBA. However, they understand they'll need to shut teams down if they're going to accomplish their goals.
Oklahoma City will try to extend its longest winning streak in three seasons to nine on Wednesday night when it goes for a seventh consecutive victory over the Western Conference-worst New Orleans Hornets.
The Thunder (17-4) are scoring 111.4 points per game since their last defeat to boost their league-leading average to 106.0.
Oklahoma City is also among the NBA's best on defense, yielding 96.5 points per contest on 42.6 percent shooting.
It was hard to tell in the opening 24 minutes against Indiana on Sunday, but after a stern halftime lecture from coach Scott Brooks, the Thunder limited the Pacers to 37 points en route to a 104-93 victory.
"You can score back and forth if you want to, but defending is what we do," said Russell Westbrook, who is averaging 22.0 points and 8.8 assists during the winning streak.
So is winning at home, where the Thunder are 11-2. They're outscoring opponents by an average of 16.0 points in reeling off seven straight there.
Oklahoma City goes for its sixth consecutive home win over the Hornets (5-15) after posting two victories in New Orleans already - 110-95 on Nov. 16 and 100-79 on Dec. 1.
"It definitely helps (facing them twice already)," Westbrook said following Tuesday's practice. "... we know what they run, we know how they like to play, but it's definitely going to be tough beating a team three times."
Maybe not. The Hornets are coming off their fourth consecutive loss, 77-70 at home to league-worst Washington on Tuesday. New Orleans scored 28 second-half points and finished a season-worst 32.5 percent (26 for 80) from the field.
"We did not play with the effort that is necessary to win an NBA game," said coach Monty Williams, whose team has dropped 13 of 15.
One positive for New Orleans moving forward is that rookie forward Anthony Davis is back after missing 11 games due to a stress reaction in his left ankle. The No. 1 overall pick returned Tuesday and finished with 13 points, eight rebounds, three block and three steals in 25 minutes off the bench.
Davis missed the Dec. 1 matchup but scored eight points with 11 boards in the first meeting with Oklahoma City.
The former Kentucky star should be able to help center Robin Lopez against Oklahoma City big men Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins, but the Hornets are still looking for a way to slow down Durant, whose career 52.4 shooting percentage versus New Orleans is his best against any Western foe.
The three-time reigning scoring champ has hit 16 of 25 shots against New Orleans this season while piling up a team-best 47 points.
Thunder reserve guard Kevin Martin has 46 points in those contests while playing 11 fewer minutes. The Oklahoma City newcomer is shooting 52.5 percent (32 for 61) from beyond the arc at home.
Hornets 3-point specialist Ryan Anderson is 15 for 33 from long range during the team's skid despite missing all seven second-half attempts on Tuesday.
Anderson is 6 for 14 from beyond the arc against Oklahoma City this season while pacing the team with 36 total points and 17 boards.
The Thunder, winners of 10 of 11 in this series, last won nine straight Jan. 29-Feb. 21, 2010.
Updated December 12, 2012