CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Oklahoma City Thunder built a 29-point third-quarter lead and cruised to a 116-94 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats at Time Warner Cable Arena.
The Bobcats' chances fell apart in the second quarter when they went the first 5 1/2 minutes without a field goal, falling behind quickly by 19.
This was the Bobcats' ninth straight loss, six of those by 20 or more points.
Gerald Henderson scored 21 for the Bobcats. Kevin Durant had 19 for the Thunder, one of six OKC players to reach double-figure scoring. The Bobcats made a little comeback late in the second quarter to cut a 21-point deficit to 64-50 at halftime. But the damage was severe the first 5 1/2 minutes of the second quarter.
That's when the Bobcats missed their first 10 shots of the period before backup power forward Josh McRoberts hit a 16-foot jump shot. By then the Thunder had turned a one-point deficit at the end of the first quarter into a 41-29 lead.
This was the Bobcats' first game without backup point guard Ramon Sessions, who will miss 2-4 weeks with a sprained left knee. Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap anticipated Sessions was seriously hurt Wednesday against the Brooklyn Nets when Sessions said he couldn't push off his left leg on drives.
Sessions' absence hurts on several levels. He and Kemba Walker are the Bobcats' only true point guards and Sessions is a primary option on offense. His ability to draw shooting fouls is one of the few easy scoring opportunities the Bobcats generate.
When Dunlap talked to Walker Friday about Sessions' injury he told him "Big East Tournament" -- as in the way Walker almost single-handedly won that tournament for Connecticut in 2011.
It's a lot harder for Walker to carry the Bobcats at this level. He did get plenty of help from shooting guard Henderson, who scored 11 points in the game's first seven minutes and 17 in the first half.
Ben Gordon, who will play a bigger role in Sessions' absence, added nine points in the first half.
Defensively, the Bobcats had predictable problems containing Thunder small forward Kevin Durant (nine points off six shots). More surprisingly, power forward Serge Ibaka -- primarily known for his defense, poured in 10 first-half points on 5-of-7 shooting.
The start of the second quarter was just gruesome for the Bobcats, who trailed by 10 in three minutes and 19 in the first seven minutes. The Bobcats' first nine possessions consisted of eight misses, two turnovers and just one offensive rebound.
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