Hornets carry win streak into OKC

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Oklahoma City Thunder earned a tough road win on Christmas and won't have much time to dwell on it when they return home Friday to host the Charlotte Hornets.

The Thunder escaped the Alamo City with Thursday's 114-106 triumph over the defending champion San Antonio Spurs and used a 38-point fourth quarter to halt a two-game slide and win for the ninth time in 12 tries. Russell Westbrook put OKC on his back to the tune of 34 points on 14-of-28 shooting and 11 assists.

"We did a great job of being physical, using our length and our athleticism," Westbrook said.

Steven Adams posted 16 points and 15 rebounds, while Serge Ibaka scored 21 points and Anthony Morrow added 15 off the bench for Oklahoma City, which made 51.9 percent from the field and registered at least 100 or more points for the ninth time in the previous 10 contests.

Oklahoma City isn't taking chances on superstar Kevin Durant's sprained right ankle and the reigning NBA MVP missed his fourth straight. Durant sustained the injury in a loss at Golden State on Dec. 18 and is expected to rest again versus the Hornets.

Durant missed the start of the season because of foot surgery (Jones fracture) and the Thunder are 7-2 in the games he has played.

The Thunder are 7-7 at home this season.

Charlotte has been playing well lately with a season-best four straight wins and is coming off Tuesday's 108-101 road triumph against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Kemba Walker scored 27 points and Gerald Henderson posted 20 for the Hornets, who outscored the Bucks 34-24 in the third quarter and later took a 96-84 advantage.

"They're a good team," said Charlotte coach Steve Clifford. "They beat us up- and-down the floor, which we've been good at, but we are able to stay in there and make the plays we needed."

The Hornets are averaging 107.8 points during their win streak and have posted 100-plus points in each of the past five games. They committed 13 turnovers against the Bucks, but are first in the NBA with 11.0 turnovers per game.

Walker has scored 20 or more points six times in the last eight games and is posting an average of 23.1 ppg in that stretch.

Charlotte is only 3-10 on the road and has won back-to-back road tests. It will host Orlando and Milwaukee next at The Hive.

The Hornets and Thunder will meet twice this season and are scheduled to play Feb. 21 in Charlotte. Oklahoma City won both matchups with Charlotte last season and is riding a seven-game win streak in the series. The then-Bobcats never won in six tries in Oklahoma City.