Recap: Oklahoma City Thunder 125, Orlando Magic 124 | Magic Basketball

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Jan 14

Recap: Oklahoma City Thunder 125, Orlando Magic 124

AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki

BOX SCORE

The Oklahoma City Thunder were able to defeat the Orlando Magic by the score of 125-124, handing them their second straight loss in as many days. This was a game that featured little defense, as the Magic and Thunder were able to score on each other at will throughout the evening. Kevin Durant’s leaning one-hander with 8.1 seconds left in regulation was the decider, as it put Oklahoma City up by four points and didn’t allow Orlando a chance to tie things up. Speaking about Durant, he was phenomenal as he scored 36 points on 17 shots — an extremely efficient outing for one of the best scorers in the NBA. Russell Westbrook finished with a triple-double, as he had 32 points, 13 assists, 10 rebounds, and two blocks. Not a bad performance for Westbrook, someone that should be in the consideration for the Most Improved Player award. Other players contributed for the Thunder but at the end of the day, it was the Durant and Westbrook show. On the flipside, the Magic were led by Dwight Howard‘s monster performance of 39 points (17-of-20 from the free-throw line), 18 rebounds, and two blocks. Jason Richardson had 19 points, while J.J. Redick and Ryan Anderson chipped in with 18 points and 15 points respectively. On any other night, Orlando would have won by scoring 124 points but it wasn’t enough against Oklahoma City.

For those that like a lot of offense, this was a fun game to watch.

However, the Magic pride themselves on being one of the best defenses in the league and they showed little of that against the Thunder. Durant and Westbrook are two of the best perimeter scorers in the NBA so it’s little surprise that they were able to produce offensively, but Orlando made things a little too easy for them as noted by head coach Stan Van Gundy at halftime. For whatever reason, the Magic were afraid to get physical with Durant and Westbrook because they were wary of fouls being called. That’s not an excuse.

Ironically enough, Orlando could have gotten away with Durant and Westbrook going nova on offense if they contained the role players. No offense to Nenad Krstic, but he shouldn’t be putting up 16 points and 11 rebounds. As Reggie Miller said on the TNT broadcast, that’s found money. It’s true. Guys like Jeff Green, James Harden, and Serge Ibaka are going to contribute but the key is to limit their impact and unfortunately for the Magic, they were unable to do so. That’s one of the reasons that Orlando lost in an otherwise winnable scenario.

Sure, the Thunder led for most of the night but the Magic were always in striking distance, thanks in large part to their three-point shooting.

In the fourth quarter when Orlando made their run after being down 12 points to start the period, Redick was unconscious. Van Gundy decided to go with a lineup of Nelson-Redick-Richardson-Turkoglu-Howard and the results were phenomenal. There was little that Oklahoma City could do defensively. Whether it was the 1/5 pick and roll with Nelson and Howard or the 4/5 pick and roll with Turkoglu (as a power forward) and Howard, the Magic generated great shots for themselves time and again. With Howard acting as an unstoppable force in the paint, Orlando was humming on offense.¬†Drive-and-kicks were plentiful, ball movement was great, but it wasn’t enough.

Durant and Westbrook were too much.

Especially Durant, who put the game out of reach with Turkoglu draped all over him on one of the last possessions in the game.

Great players make great plays.

Durant is a great player, and he made a great play.

For the Magic, despite excellent performances from their superstar and ancillary players, one possession was the difference in the ball game.

16 comments
Amaleika
Amaleika

No Team win every Game!

without the trades we loose the game on the raod against thunder too.

why dont try to play in the last minutes in 4. quarter in toguh games hedo at pg.

hedo jj as guards

j rich bass howard this setups is very very tall especcially at pg and hedo are a great passer and game director. with jj and bass and j rich you have great free thrower with can be a factor too in close games.

Billy (slickw143)
Billy (slickw143)

You want Hedo to try to cover Russell Westbrook?

Amaleika
Amaleika

does nelson his job well in cover RW ?

remember RW have an tripple double in this game!!!!! with more as 30 Points.

Amaleika
Amaleika

does nelson cover RW well?

4Ever
4Ever

Absolutely. Arenas hasn't impressed offensively and his defense (despite Van Gundy) is non-existent.

Wundervogel
Wundervogel

Look, Jameer should not have shot that three when we were down one. Period. I don't mind Jameer taking clutch shots. Like everyone stated, he was great in the clutch against Boston. But my question is, why the heck did he even have the ball? We had just run several pick and rolls with Turkoglu and were getting everything we wanted. I was just wondering why we weren't sticking with what was working?

Billy (slickw143)
Billy (slickw143)

If he hits that shot, you're going crazy. He's took an open 3 after hitting one earlier in the game. I'll take a 40% 3-point shooter who's made shots with the pressure on several times. Dude also hit a jumper that cut the lead to two with 30 seconds left before Durant hit his crazy shot to seal the game.

It's easy to criticize in hindsight, but an open 3 for a good shooter is what Stan wants. I doubt he even has that shot in his top 15 reasons why we lost that game. Most of those legit reasons are going to be our D giving up 125 points.

Burn1e
Burn1e

Yes, its time for Van Gundy to realize that Nelson is second unit and has never really returned to his All Star form since his injuries, but Reddick starting instead of Richardson? JRich is the closer they have been looking for and would be able to prove it if the point guard were able to distribute the ball instead of trying to be the hero. Seriously they were down by one and Nelson bombs a pull up three. What was he thinking? Dwight was on a tear and making his free throws last night that was a poor decision by Nelson and if Van Gundy doesn't do something to keep him in check this team ain't doing nothing.

Billy (slickw143)
Billy (slickw143)

Do you know anything about anything? Have you forgotten how many clutch three's Nelson has hit in the past two years? Did you forget his big three's he hit at the end of the Boston game? I'm sure you did, and I'm just as sure you were screaming in joy when he hit those shots then.

Did you ever see that commercial when MJ talks about how many big shots he's missed in his career? Robert Horry's the only dude who's burying those shots every time. Jameer's the co-captain on the team because he's willing to shoot that shot. And I'm sorry, I'll take my chances with a historically "clutch" 40% 3-point shooter taking an open three for the lead. You're not going to win every game.

Josh
Josh

It's time to take a serious look at moving Agent Zero into the starting rotation in place of Jameer, with Redick at SG. The Magic get a little more size, lose nothing on defense, and spread the floor a bit more. It also, strangely enough, improves their second unit by providing a quicker, penetrating, point guard to keep the interior defense honest when Dwight is on the bench.

4QB
4QB

Why do people think that moving Gil who is worse in every cat. from Jameer will automatically= more wins? It's a 2 game losing streak to 2 of the arguably top 3 (CP3) and top 5 (RW0). Stop panicking so much

Burn1e
Burn1e

With Dwight, Turk, and Jrich all on the court at the same time why does Jameer insist on driving down the court not passing and bricking what could potentially be game changing shots? Somebody seems more concerned about losing their job than doing whats best for the current situation. If he wants to shoot fine but at least move the ball homie and get a good look. Playing a little defense could be helpful too. I'm a diehard throw stuff at the tv Magic fan since I was a little kid but if they don't step the D up there's no ring in the future. I know the new players are offensive minded but 125 points come on man thats ridiculous!!!!!

Ferric
Ferric

Durant was scary last night, totally unguardable by our team. I can only imagine what Lebron would do to this team in the playoffs. I get that this is a new team, and its going to take time for it to reach its defensive potential. But I think their a ceiling on how good it can be defensively. And I don't know if it high enough to allow a championship. On the other hand the offensive is amazing. As a potentially fatally flawed team, this team is much funner to watch then the old one at least.

Billy (slickw143)
Billy (slickw143)

LeBron isn't the same shooter Durant is. Durant got a lot of his points on outside jumpers over shorter/slower defenders. LeBron has to go inside if he really wants to be successful, and he'll have to meet Dwight in there. The defense is still a legit concern, though.

KDDM
KDDM

agree! go Magic anyway!

Adolfo
Adolfo

When the trades were made it was widely written about the Magic losing a little bit on defense (Pietrus and Gortat) trying to get a push on offense, I think these past two games have proved that... well, that's my humble opinion... GO MAGIC!