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News » Game has regular-season feel

Game has regular-season feel

Game has regular-season feel Despite the sparse crowd at New Orleans Arena, the Thunder's 88-79 loss to the Hornets on Saturday had a regular-season feel to it at times.

A few players got whacked in the face, and emotions kicked up a notch.

The defining moment came with 1:51 remaining and the Hornets leading by three points. Hornets 10-year veteran forward James Posey dived on the floor for a loose ball after a Thunder turnover and signaled for a timeout. The Hornets' bench erupted, and the crowd responded. It was the culmination of a hard-fought game.

Nenad Krstic took a shot to the face with 1:35 remaining in the third quarter when Hornets center Hilton Armstrong elbowed him above the right eyebrow while making a post move in the middle of the paint. Krstic was taken out of the game but returned later to start the second half. Serge Ibaka sustained a gash above his right eye and had a big band-aid on it after the game. And Chris Paul complained of being hit in the face by Russell Westbrook away from the ball.

Despite the rough play, 14 fewer fouls were called than in the Thunder's opener in Memphis on Wednesday.


Former teammates at UCLA, Westbrook and Darren Collison faced each other for the first time, a brief five-minute stint midway through the second quarter. Westbrook scored seven points with eight assists in 24 minutes. Collison, Westbrook's backcourt mate with the Bruins and the 21st overall pick, played only 12 total minutes and scored four points with one assist.

"I'm very happy for him," Collison said of Westbrook. "Him and Kevin Durant are going to turn that program around. And now I'm even seeing him distributing the ball like a point guard should be doing. So he has all the tools to be a good player."


Asked his impressions of rookie James Harden, Hornets coach Byron Scott had a little fun with his fellow Arizona State alum.

"He's about the second-best shooting guard to ever come out of there," Scott said. "He's all right."

Scott said he has never met Harden but was impressed with him while Harden was with the Sun Devils last season.

"I watched him a lot and thought he was very, very talented," Scott said. "He's got big-time talent. I think he's going to do real well in this league."


The Thunder will not practice today. The team will have a shoot-around Monday morning before its preseason home opener against Phoenix.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: October 14, 2009


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