I remember when Nicolas Batum caused massive grief for the Thunder as a member of the Portland Trail Blazers; when he was dealt to Charlotte, well, we’d have to see him only twice a year instead of four times. Turns out that Batum, at least in this game, was just about twice as much of a pest as he was in the Rose Garden/Moda Center: with the game tied at 101 late in the fourth, the Hornets went on a 13-3 run, and much of that running was done by Batum, who finished with a season-high 28 points and dribbled it out for a 123-112 win.
No one — well, no one not named Russell Westbrook — was complaining about the officiating, but damn, those Hornets know how to draw fouls; Charlotte took forty-nine free throws, making 40 of them. (OKC was 19-23 from the stripe, a better percentage; but still, 21 points handed to the opposition.) Alongside Batum in the Hornets backcourt, Kemba Walker rang up 20 points, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist drew a double-double (14 points, 11 rebounds).
Two double-doubles among the Thundermen: Westbrook (of course), 33 points and 15 rebounds, Steven Adams, 18 points and 12 boards. As per usual, Enes Kanter led the bench with 22. The Thunder did manage to control the backboards, kinda sorta, 51-46; but the Hornets served up more assists and shot about 2.5 percent better. You gotta wonder if maybe the Thunder were looking ahead to an even tougher road opponent: the Rockets, who will be waiting in Houston tomorrow night. But Westbrook, who played 35 minutes and drew yet another technical (two previous Ts were rescinded, so he has ten), probably isn’t worried about playing time.