Notebook: Thunder 117, Magic 104



Posted Mar 16, 2013 12:04 AM

Randy Renner, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: A laugher turned nail-biter in Oklahoma City as the Thunder let a 27-point first half lead melt all the way down to just four late before surging to beat the Orlando Magic 117-104.

The Thunder had three players score in double figures and were once again led by Kevin Durant who hit a big 3-ball late and finished with 26 points, nine rebounds, three steals but also six turnovers. Russell Westbrook added 23 points, six rebounds and six assists and Serge Ibaka dropped in 20 while grabbing six rebounds and blocking three shots.

The Magic had all five starters score at least 12 points and four of the five starters played at least 40 minutes. Point guard Jameer Nelson led the way with 26 points and seven assists. Center Nic Vucevic had another double-double with 21 points and 14 rebounds and Aaron Afflalo added 20.

The Thunder appeared to be cruising toward an easy win, leading by 27 in the first half and putting 73 points on the board at the break. But in the second half OKC missed long-balls, layups and free throws and turned the ball over with careless passes. The Magic seized the opportunity but just couldn't quite close the deal at the end.

QUOTABLE: "We knew they'd play hard but our focus was inconsistent throughout the game and that's something we have to get better at. We missed a lot of free throws and a lot of layups. The bright spot about this game is that it's over with."
--Thunder head coach Scott Brooks

THE STAT: Oklahoma City scored 73 points in the first half but just 44 in the second. OKC missed 10 free throws in the second half and 14 for the game. The Thunder had 10 turnovers in the second half and 18 for the game.

TURNING POINT: A huge first half that saw OKC score a season-high 73 points and lead Orlando by 27 points buried the Magic in a hole too deep to climb out of though they were able to shave the deficit all the way down to a seat-squirming four points before the Thunder regained control with an 11-2 run to finish the game.

QUOTABLE II: "We had great concentration in the second half, their two stars hit two big threes that helped push the margin but we didn't turn the ball over and that gave us a chance."
-- Magic head coach Jacque Vaughn

HOT: OKC started the game shooting 63.6 percent (7-for-11)...and finished the first quarter even hotter at 71.4 percent (15-for-21) and scored a season-high 39 points in the opening quarter...Westbrook was 6-for-10 (14 points) in the first half...Oklahoma City scored 73 first half points, the most in any half this season...Ibaka was 4-for-5 and Durant was 5-for-7 in the second half.

NOT: Beno Udrih was 1-for-5 (two points) in the first half...Westbrook was 2-for-9 in the second half...Orlando shot 38 percent (19-for-50) in the last 24 minutes.

INSIDE THE ARENA: The 100th consecutive sell-out inside Chesapeake Energy Arena.

GOOD MOVE: Brooks said before the game "we just have to focus on us and what we do best," and not be distracted by Orlando's poor record. The Thunder came out smoking from the start and kept the pressure on throughout the first half scoring a season-high 73 points on 64.3 percent shooting.

BAD MOVE: The Thunder came out flat and unfocused to start the second half and allowed what had been a 27 point lead at one time in the first half shrink down to 14 with bad shot selection, blown layups and five turnovers before Brooks called a timeout midway through the third quarter to try to refocus his ball club.

BAD MOVE TOO: The Magic had hoped to slow OKC's offense by limiting their own turnovers and Orlando did that with just three in the first quarter. However, the Magic defense could not stop penetration by the Thunder inside. OKC was 9-for-11 in the paint for 18 points down low in the first quarter.

NOTABLE: The Thunder have now won 10 of their last 12 games...The Magic haven't won in Oklahoma City since November 12, 2008, the Thunder's first season in Oklahoma when they won only 23 games.

UP NEXT: For the Magic, Sunday @ Milwaukee, Tuesday @ Indiana, Wednesday @ New York. For the Thunder, Sunday @ Dallas, Tuesday vs. Denver, Wednesday @ Memphis.