OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks has been saying all year that Kevin Durant was evolving into a point forward. Even though the three-time scoring champion still leads the league in scoring, he has shown flashes of being the all-around player his coach believes he can become.
When the Thunder hosted New Orleans on Wednesday, Durant backed up his coach’s words as he collected his second triple-double of the season to lead Oklahoma City to a 119-74 win over the struggling Hornets at Chesapeake Energy Arena. The 45-point victory ties a season high.
“KD has the potential to get a triple-double many nights,” Brooks said. “He handles the ball a lot, he demands a lot of attention, so a lot of guys are going to be open because he has to be guarded a lot of the times by more than one. He’s a good playmaker.”
Durant finished with 18 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists and one turnover in only 27 minutes of work. Several of the assists were of the no-look variety that had the fans just as excited as if he scored 40 points.
“I think the triple-double is more fun,” Durant said. “All your teammates are involved in it. I’m a team guy. I enjoy seeing my guys hit shots or get a dunk. I just get excited.”
Not to be overshadowed, Russell Westbrook scored a game-high 29 points on 8-for-17 shooting. He was 12 for 12 from the free throw line. Serge Ibaka added 18 points and seven rebounds, and Kevin Martin scored 14 points off the bench.
Ryan Anderson was the only New Orleans starter to reach double figures. He scored all 14 of his points in the first half. The backcourt of Austin Rivers and Greivis Vasquez accounted for 15 points and 11 assists.
New Orleans (20-29) suffered one its worst defeats of the season. No. 1 overall pick Anthony Davis and Eric Gordon both sat out due to injuries.