Kevin Durant had 26, Russell Westbrook had 23 and Serge Ibaka had 20 as the Oklahoma City Thunder survive a late run by the Orlando Magic, 117-104.
The Thunder put up 73 in the first half, one short of their franchise record on their way to a 17 point halftime lead. The lead ballooned to 27 at one point before Orlando fought back to bring it within 7 in the third, eventually cutting it to 4 with just a few minutes left. However, the Thunder were able to tighten up defensively, and allowed only 20 points in the fourth, and pulled away in the final minutes.
The Thunder, who had four players score in double figures, have now won their 7th straight at home. OKC shot 55% on the night, while holding the Magic to only 48 points in the second half.
Orlando, led by 26 from Jameer Nelson, had all five starters score in double figures tonight.
What is your initial reaction to tonight's result?
The game looked to be a blowout early on. Instead the Thunder came out with a 'Let's get this over with' type of attitude in the second half. Their defense was sloppy, and the Magic were able to cut OKC's 27 point lead down to four. Just when it looked like the Thunder were going to give the game, Westbrook and Durant took over in the final minutes, hitting key shots and putting OKC out on top.
Kevin Durant committed 6 turnovers tonight. Bringing his total to 14 over the last 2 games. The Thunder just played sloppy tonight, and lost focus in the second half. Tonight should've been a night where the Thunder rested their starters in the fourth, instead they let the lead get away from them and nearly had a disappointing loss.
What was, overall, the main reason why the Thunder won?
Despite the Thunder's poor performance, they still only allowed 48 points in the second half, including only 20 in the fourth quarter. The Magic, who shot 43% on the night, went 8-25 in the fourth, including 1-6 in the final 3 minutes. This slump ended Orlando's chance of completing the comeback.
OKC's bench outscored the Magic's second 38-6. Orlando's bench only went a dismal 3-12. The Thunder's bench was responsible for getting OKC out to the 27 point lead, and Orlando was never able to rely on it's bench for anything this game. 4 out of 5 of the Magic starters played over 40 minutes this game.
What was a key statistic to understanding the game?
The Thunder dominated the glass, outrebounding the Magic 52-33. Even with Hasheem Thabeet being held out of tonight's game, and Perry Jones getting his minutes, the Thunder still had a dominating advantage on the boards, which allowed the Magic to only have 15 second chance points.
Had the Thunder lost, it would've been their free throw shooting that costed them tonight. The Thunder shot 67% from the line tonight, well below their season average. While the Magic shot 81%. The Thunder were able to get to the like 22 more times than the Magic was, but only made 12 more.
What does this game mean to the Thunder tonight and going forward?
The Thunder will play this Magic squad in exactly one week at Orlando. For now, they will head to Dallas to face the Mavs who have won 5 of their last 6 games and still holding onto hopes of making the playoffs. The Thunder can clinch a playoff spot with a win on Sunday, yes, we're that close to the end of the season.
Thunder Wonder: Serge Ibaka, 20 points, 6 rebounds, 3 blocks
Thunder Down Under: Kevndrick Perkins, 5 points, 12 rebounds
Thunder Blunder: None
Thunder Plunderer: Nikola Vucevic, 21 points, 14 rebounds.
Next game: @ Dallas Mavericks, on Sunday March 17 @ 6:30 pm.
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