Looking to bounce back after a heart breaking late loss to the Washington Wizards on Wednesday, the Orlando Magic returned to action in front of a packed Amway Center crowd to take on the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Magic controlled much of the game, but the Thunder's veterans stepped up late, helping them prevail in a double-overtime thriller, 139-136.
Firing on all cylinders from the start, the Magic raced out to an early lead, thanks to white hot shooting, that saw the hosts knock down 68.2 percent of their attempts in the opening quarter. Orlando's defense got after the Thunder, forcing them into seven early turnovers, leading to 10 Magic points. The Magic's ability to get into the paint at will allowed them to out score the Thunder by six, 20-to-14, early. While they trailed, Oklahoma Cities activity on the offensive glass hurt the Magic, as the Thunder grabbed six offensive boards early, leading to 11 points.
Into the second quarter, the Magic continued to run like a well oiled machine, scoring at will, while turning up their play on the defensive end. While unable to consistently knock down shots from beyond the arc, the Magic shot 56 percent in the quarter, helping them to a 61.7 percent shooting percentage for the half. The Magic did continue to struggle on the defensive glass, however, giving up seven more offensive rebounds in the quarter.
Following the halftime break, the Magic came out slow, lacking the energy that allowed them to jump on the Thunder early and often. After an early timeout from coach Scott Skiles, however, things turned around for the Magic, who got things going before one could blink, pushing their lead right back out to 15 points. With the ball moving crisply following a period of stagnation, the Magic were able to hold off any potential Thunder runs, pushing their lead up to a game-high 18 point lead late in the quarter.
Holding their largest lead of the game at 18, things were looking good for the Magic to notch their first win of the season. However, as was the case in the third quarter, the hosts started the quarter out sloppy, playing uninspiring basketball to allow the Thunder to cut the lead down to as few as eight by the midway point of the quarter. After pushing the lead back out to double digits briefly, the Thunder began their push, slowly cutting into the Magic's lead.
After a few sloppy possessions late, the Thunder found themselves down one, before Victor Oladipo knocked down a pair of free throws with 21 seconds remaining. Following a layup from Russell Westbrook, Aaron Gordon hit a pair of free throws to put the Magic back up three. Kevin Durant proceeded to hit a three to tie the game, which was matched by Victor Oladipo following a Magic timeout. Unpredictably, Westbrook banked a shot in from nearly halfcourt with just seven tenths of a second remaining, with the Magic not able to get a bucket to win, sending the game into overtime.
Picking up where he left off in the fourth quarter, Westbrook controlled the overtime period for the Thunder, scoring all nine of their points in the extra frame. After falling behind by as many as five, the Magic clawed their way back, cutting it down to one after a pair of free throws from Tobias Harris. Out of a timeout following a Westbrook jumper, the Magic found Oladipo in the left corner for a three-pointer, which he hit to send the game into double overtime.
Coming off yet another exciting conclusion to a quarter, the Magic and Thunder played their second overtime, with the Thunder yet again controlling the game. Oklahoma City quickly jumped out to a five point lead, with the Magic struggling to get any consistency going on the offensive end. A three by Elfrid Payton cut the Thunder lead down to two late, before Steven Adams knocked down a pair of free throws to give the Thunder a seemingly insurmountable four point lead. Despite having a chance to tie and send the game into a third overtime late, the Magic were unable to get a clean look off.
Westbrook and Durant did almost all of the damage for the Thunder, finishing with 48 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists, and 43 points, 12 rebounds and two assists respectively. D.J. Augustin added 12 off the bench, with Enes Kanter scoring 10 before fouling out.
All five Magic starters finished in double figures, led by Harris' 30. Nikola Vucevic finished the night with 26 points, and a career high five blocks, with Evan Fournier bouncing back with 22 points. Oladipo pieced together his second career triple double, finishing with 21 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists. Playing in foul trouble, Payton added 14, with Aaron Gordon finishing with 15 off the bench.