Oklahoma City Thunder set for road bout with Charlotte Hornets

The Oklahoma City Thunder geared up for the long haul prior to the NBA's trade deadline and hope to have their new players Saturday on the road against the Charlotte Hornets.

In a three-team deal Thursday, Oklahoma acquired guard D.J. Augustin, swingman Kyle Singler and a 2019 second-round pick from the Pistons, as well as big man Enes Kanter and 3-point specialist Steve Novak from the Jazz.


Guard Reggie Jackson went to Detroit and center Kendrick Perkins highlighted a package that was sent to Utah.

"We're extremely pleased to welcome Enes, Steve, D.J. and Kyle. We feel we have added talent, toughness and commitment to our roster and we are excited about the depth and versatility these additions provide," Thunder GM Sam Presti said.

The Thunder are vying for a postseason spot after a slow start without the services of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. They have won four in a row and six of their last seven games, including Thursday's 104-89 triumph versus the Dallas Mavericks behind Westbrook's 34 points, 10 assists and five rebounds.


Westbrook scored 41 points in the All-Star Game and was named MVP. He is averaging 32.7 points per game in his last six.

Serge Ibaka was a force against the Mavs with 21 points and 22 rebounds, while Durant registered 12 points for Oklahoma City, which survived 25 turnovers for 29 Dallas points and led by 22 points in the second half. OKC, which is eighth in the Western Conference, had a 62-39 rebounding advantage and sits a season- best four games above .500.

Durant left the game late in the fourth quarter with a right foot injury and is questionable Saturday. Durant has been hampered by injuries throughout the season and his absence would be a big blow for OKC's playoff hopes.

The Thunder are 12-17 on the road and will shoot for a third straight win away from. They will host Denver and Indiana next, and are averaging 116.0 ppg during the winning streak.

Charlotte is in the midst of a playoff push as well and will close out a three-game homestand tonight versus the Thunder.

The Hornets are eighth in the East and suffered their third straight loss after winning three in a row with last Tuesday's 106-78 decision versus the Detroit Pistons. Gerald Henderson scored 17 points, P.J. Hairston had 16 off the bench and Al Jefferson posted 13 and 10 rebounds.


"For whatever reason we didn't have it tonight," said Jefferson. "We just have to put it behind us and get ready for the second half of the season."

Charlotte led, 27-26, after the first 12 minutes, but was held under 20 points in each of the last three quarters. Detroit recorded a 50-32 points in the paint advantage and held the Hornets to 35.8 percent shooting.

Jefferson is averaging 16.9 points and 11.0 rebounds in his past seven games for Charlotte, which is still 12-6 in the last 18 games and committing an NBA- low 11.0 turnovers per game.

The Hornets are 13-15 at home and have won five of the past seven games inside Time Warner Cable Arena. They will play the next four games on the road against Dallas, Chicago, Boston and Orlando.

Hornets forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (hamstring) hasn't played since Feb. 7 at Philadelphia and is probable Saturday. He is averaging 10.2 points and 7.2 rebounds.

Oklahoma City defeated Charlotte, 98-75, the day after Christmas and was led by Westbrook's 29 points. Durant did not play in that one for the Thunder, who have won eight straight in this series.


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