Said Royce Young in his Pregame Primer: “You just can’t go dropping games you should win, like tonight.”
Undoubtedly he remembered the last game against Orlando, in which the Thunder, up by a ton, managed to win only by three. He certainly wasn’t predicting this game against Orlando, in which the Thunder, up by a ton, scored a whole two points in the first five minutes of the fourth quarter and fell behind. OKC began getting stops and occasional buckets; a Thabo Sefolosha trey, assisted by Kevin Durant, put the Thunder up 102-99 with just under two minutes left. One minute later, Serge Ibaka fouled Arron Afflalo a long way from the basket; Afflalo hit two of three free throws, nothing else happened for what seemed to be a very long time, and literally at the last moment, Tobias Harris broke away for a dunk to give the Magic the win, 103-102. “They deserved to win,” conceded radio guy Matt Pinto, and really, they did; they thoroughly outplayed OKC in the second half.
Harris, who was 5-17 up to that point, still was the top scorer for Orlando with 18; Afflalo knocked down 16, and rookie guard Victor Oladipo led the bench with 14. Nikola Vučević nailed the Magic’s only double-double, with exactly ten points and ten rebounds.
Of the 102 Thunder points, 55 came from the forwards; Durant had 29 and 12 assists, the latter tying a career high, and Ibaka had 26. However, nobody else made double figures except Reggie Jackson, who finished with 12. And the one category in which OKC led, they wouldn’t have wanted to: they gave up 15 turnovers, the Magic only nine.
Three more games before the All-Star break: Sunday at home against the Knicks, at Portland Tuesday, finishing against the Lakers on Thursday. It is to be hoped that they don’t try to phone it in, but after tonight, you have to wonder just a little.