Sometimes the game of basketball is simple. The story of a game can be as point blank as getting stops versus not getting stops. In the Thunder’s return home against the Orlando Magic, that narrative couldn’t have been more appropriate.
After giving up 69 points in the first half, the Thunder defense amped up the pressure to allow 50 points in the second half (23 in the 3rd). Paul George scored 39 points and Russell Westbrook had his 7th straight triple-double as the Thunder defeated the Magic 132-122 on Tuesday night.
The Magic had pushed their lead to 79-67 early in the 3rd quarter, and the Thunder had struggled up to this point to string together many stops. However, the Thunder started to force contested shots and get deflections. The defensive effort began to improve by the possession and the Thunder began chipping away at the lead. The stops allowed the Thunder to get out in transition and find their offensive groove. The Thunder went on a 31-12 run to close out the quarter and take the lead. OKC led 98-92 after three quarters.
The Thunder pushed their lead to double-digits early in the 4th quarter. Dennis Schroder, much like the previous game against Orlando, carved up the Magic defense and poured in buckets. George found Patrick Patterson in transition for a three that pushed the Thunder lead to 111-97. OKC never looked back after building the big lead, despite a last effort from Orlando, they never cut the lead any lower than seven. OKC finished off the Magic for the home victory and a sweep of the season series.
OKC shot 50% from the field and also shot 43% from the three (13-of-30). The Thunder won the rebound battle 49-40 and dominated points in the paint 58-38. The Magic shot over 50% from the field for the entire 1st half until the Thunder picked it up on defense in the 2nd half. OKC also forced 18 turnovers for the Magic.
George led seven Thunder double-digit scorers with 39 points. Russ had his seventh straight triple double with 16 points, 15 rebounds and 16 assists. Schroder scored 20 points off the bench. Jerami Grant put up a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Steven Adams, Terrance Ferguson, and Abdel Nader all were in double figures as well.
Terrence Ross scored 26 points off the bench to lead the Magic. Evan Fournier scored 25 points. Aaron Gordon had a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Nikola Vucevic put up 17 points.