Curious statistic: the five Orlando starters scored 98 points in this game. Curiouser statistic: the six Orlando reserves came up with six. Does the Magic have a weak bench? Who knows? They didn’t get much of a chance to play, because those starters were put to work whittling down what at one time was a 27-point Oklahoma City lead. They got it down to four in the last period before the Thunder closed the door. The final was OKC 117, Orlando 104, which sounds fairly impressive until you notice that the Weather Phenomena had 73 in the first half.
And the Magic were playing without Hedo Türkoğlu, who drew a 20-game suspension last month for using some mysterious pregnant-cat extract. Also not on hand: Glen “Big Baby” Davis, due to a foot fracture. No wonder the starters all played big minutes. The backcourt duo of Arron Afflalo and Jameer Nelson combined for 46 points, and Nikola Vučević did a worthy job in the middle, with 21 points and 14 rebounds. The Magic pulled off a creditable 12 steals, but blocked no shots.
The Oklahoma City bench, you should know, knocked down 38 points this time around, led as usual by Kevin Martin with a close to usual 15. The KD and Russell Show rang up 49 — 26 for Durant, 23 for Westbrook — and Serge Ibaka put up 20. At some point in the second quarter, the Thunder were shooting over 70 percent; this dropped to 55, but nobody will complain about 55. And OKC had a startling 52-33 advantage in rebounding despite Vučević’s 14; Kendrick Perkins collected 12 in ten fewer minutes.
A week from tonight, it’s these same two teams, in the shadow of the Mouse House. In between, there are trips to Dallas and Memphis, and in between a bout with the Denver Nuggets, who had won 10 straight through last night and are only 4½ games back in the Northwest.