Game Recap: Magic 111, Thunder 88

News and notes following the Thunder’s 111-88 loss to the Orlando Magic:

  • Oklahoma City had to play short-handed with just 11 players on the roster after Thursday’s trades. The Thunder gave it all it had, but dealing with Orlando All-Star Dwight Howard, who tied a season-high with 40 points, proved to be too much.

    “He was great,” Thunder Coach Scott Brooks said. “He got 40 points, he’s a good player. We didn’t play very well, we didn’t shoot the ball well but they had a lot to do with it.”

  • Oklahoma City shot just 33.3 percent and the Thunder had to battle back all night long, it finally wore them down.

    “We played hard trying to cover Dwight Howard and their shooters,” Kevin Durant told reporters in the locker room, “gotta give those guys credit. We missed some shots and they hit some big 3s, that kinda broke our backs.”

  • Kevin Durant had a great night on the boards, grabbing 16. He led the Thunder with 23 points.

  • James Harden and Daequan Cook came off the bench to score 31 points together; they combined to hit seven 3-pointers.

  • Both the Thunder and Magic got off to slow starts on offense, Oklahoma City missed eight shots to open the game but halfway through the second quarter the Thunder was blistering the nets from long-range, going 5-for-6.

  • A 9-1 run for the Magic late in the second quarter put it ahead by 11, giving Orlando its largest lead to that point. Another big run by the Magic in the third quarter put it up by 16 and the Thunder behind the eight ball.

  • The Thunder got it going offensively late in the third quarter, behind a series of shots from Cook, producing a 10-2 run to close the quarter and cut the Orlando lead to 10.

  • The Magic pushed further ahead by hitting a series of 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to ice the game.

    “Dwight Howard was a force down low,” Durant said. “Hopefully Nazr (Mohammed) and Perk (Kendrick Perkins) will help us with that. We needed a big body presence to stop Howard. We played as hard as we can, we just have to live with the outcome.”

PLAYS THE BOXSCORE WON’T SHOW: Nice box out by Serge Ibaka against Dwight Howard early in the game. Serge grabbed the rebound and began a fast break. ... Just a few second later, Ibaka grabbed two offensive rebounds on the same possession, leading to free throws by Kevin Durant. ... Collison stood up to Dwight Howard in the second quarter, taking a couple of bumps and then an elbow that caught the attention of the officials who whistled Howard for an offensive foul. ... Solid help defense in the third quarter leads to two consecutive Thunder fast breaks. ... Daequan Cook with great defense on J.J. Redick late in the third quarter forces Redick into a miss. Cook then goes down and hits his fourth 3-pointer of the night. ... James Harden with a nice move along the baseline allowing Kevin Durant to find him with a bullet pass, Harden is then fouled going up for a shot. ... Cole Aldrich with a big-time effort to get a block on an Earl Clark shot late in the game.

STATS WORTH REPEATING: A pretty good night from long range as the Thunder hit 40 percent of its 3-point shots, (10-for-25). Oklahoma City also hit the offensive glass, grabbing 15 offensive rebounds. Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and Cole Aldrich each pulled down three of those.

LAST WORD: Before the Magic game, Thunder forward Kevin Durant and Coach Scott Brooks talked about the trades on Thursday that sent Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic to Boston for Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson, and D.J. White and Mo Peterson to Charlotte for Nazr Mohammed.

“He (General Manager Sam Presti) made the best decision for our team and I stand behind him 100 percent,” Durant told reporters. “I started with this team and I said I was going to try and help this team get to a point where we’re the last team standing. I committed to this team, I’m loyal to this team.”

“It’s emotional,” Brooks said before the game, “they were great pros, but that’s part of the business. You can’t get good players for bad ones and we gave up four good ones. But we’re excited about the new guys coming in. We’ll spend a lot of time with them (Saturday), get them acclimated to what we do, but that shouldn’t take too long.”

UP NEXT: The Thunder will host the two-time defending NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday afternoon inside Oklahoma City Arena. Tip-off is 1:30 p.m. on ABC-TV and the Thunder Radio Network.