While Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks got his team to respond from a sluggish outing with a dominant defensive effort, it seems nothing Charlotte coach Larry Brown says these days registers with his ragged bunch.
All it took to prove both points was a one-of-a-kind fourth quarter.
Kevin Durant scored 32 points and the visiting Thunder went from a one-point deficit entering the final period to playing their bench and holding down the score at the end in a 99-81 rout over the reeling Bobcats last night.
How about a 25-3 run to start the period and a 31-12 thrashing over 12 minutes?
"It was a combination of them missing shots and us playing great defense," said Brooks, who indicated at shootaround he "flushed it out" with his team a day earlier following a loss to undermanned Phoenix. "We really focused on getting better defensively."
It was another embarrassing meltdown for the Bobcats, who missed their first 11 shots of the fourth quarter, threw the ball away five times and didn't get their first field goal until 2:52 remained, producing sarcastic cheers.
"The same things are happening again," Brown said. "We stand around, hold the ball and turn it over. We take bad shots. In that regard you see how much more athletic than we are. A turnover for them is a dunk."
Charlotte couldn't keep Durant off the free-throw line, where he hit 14 of 16 while adding seven rebounds. Russell Westbrook scored 15 points, James Harden added 13 and Jeff Green scored nine of his 12 points in the decisive fourth.
The Thunder overcame 44 percent shooting by holding Charlotte to 40 percent from the field to earn their 20th win.
"We always talk about us being a team that bounces back pretty tough," Durant said. "That's what we wanted to do tonight. They're way better than their record shows."
Not lately. Stephen Jackson scored 20 points and Boris Diaw added 13 points, seven rebounds and eight assists for the Bobcats, who dropped their fourth straight and fell 10 games under .500 as Brown continues to question their effort.
"We can't get five guys in the right spots on the court. So then you look disorganized," Brown said. "But I think some our young kids will have to play now and hopefully they get better. I have to figure out how I can coach better, and give them a better understanding of what we need to do."
With Charlotte coming off its third loss of 31 or more points in 10 days, general manager Rod Higgins said before the game he was "navigating the waters" about possible trades, but added nothing was imminent.
The Bobcats lost Nazr Mohammed to a strained left hamstring in the third quarter. But they were in the game until a nightmare final period that left Brown again taking shots at his team.
"Can you blame him?" said Jackson, who had five of Charlotte's 15 turnovers.
In other games:
* At Orlando, Caron Butler scored 20 points, Dirk Nowitzki had 17 and the Dallas Mavericks became the latest team to topple the reconstructed Magic in a 105-99 victory.
* At Memphis, Brook Lopez scored 26 points, Sasha Vujacic added a season-high 16 and the New Jersey Nets snapped a 10-game road losing streak with a 101-94 win over the Grizzlies.
* At Sacramento, Monta Ellis poured in 36 points as the Golden State Warriors used a big fourth quarter to force overtime and defeat the Kings, 117-109.