Grades: Oklahoma City Thunder 97, Orlando Magic 89 | Magic Basketball

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Mar 23

Grades: Oklahoma City Thunder 97, Orlando Magic 89

Screen Shot 2013-03-24 at 1.36.51 PM

AP Photo/Willie J. Allen Jr.

 

Oklahoma City Thunder 97 Final
Recap | Box Score
89 Orlando Magic

Maurice Harkless
11-18 FG | 2-3 3P | 4 BLK | 9 REB | 25 PTS | -9

What a game for Harkless. He dazzled Magic fans with numerous highlight-reel worthy plays. His coast-to-coast layup early in the fourth quarter was the best of the bunch. It started with Harkless defending Kevin Martin on the perimeter. It ended with Harkless swiping the ball away from Martin, racing down the court, spinning around Martin to get by him, and finishing the sequence with a layup.

Jameer Nelson
7-17 FG | 2-7 3P | 5 REB | 10 AST | 16 PTS | -7

After a quiet first half, Nelson exploded in the third quarter. He scored 14 points in the period and led the comeback charge, alongside Harkless, for the Magic, helping to erase a 11-point halftime deficit. Nelson was dropping bombs from 3-point range and knifing through the Thunder’s defense for layups. However, he didn’t score a single point in the fourth quarter, as Oklahoma City clamped down on him defensively.

Beno Udrih
5-10 FG | 2-3 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 13 PTS | -5

After Arron Afflalo had to come out of the game with a strained right hamstring early in the second quarter, Udrih stepped up for Orlando and was a calming presence offensively. Playing alongside Nelson at the two-guard spot, Udrih did an excellent job of facilitating the Magic’s offense as a secondary ball handler, while also providing a steady dose of scoring.

Tobias Harris
3-17 FG | 4-4 FT | 15 REB | 3 AST | 10 PTS | -8

Harris made two critical mistakes in crunch time that cost Orlando dearly. First, with the Magic trailing 90-88, he forced up a running jump shot against Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka that missed badly with less than a minute to go. Then on the ensuing possession and Orlando down 92-88 with 39.1 seconds left, Harris made a bad inbounds pass that got stolen by Kevin Durant.

Oklahoma City Thunder

Definitely not the best performance for the Thunder, but they got the job done. The key to this game was their interior defense. Time and again late in the fourth quarter, Oklahoma City protected their narrow lead by being able to prevent the Magic from scoring in the paint. Perkins and Ibaka provided a big lift for the Thunder in that regard and were the difference makers.

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