Following home losses to the Milwaukee Bucks and Dallas Mavericks, the Orlando Magic returned to the road to see if they could get things going against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Magic gave up over 100 points for the 13th straight game, as the Thunder controlled the game all the way, winning 104-97.
Early on, both teams had success attacking the basket, getting easy looks on many of the opening possessions. The Thunder were able to get their jumpers to start falling first, however, jumping out to a seven point lead. The Magic didn't waver, jumping right back at the Thunder and tying the ball game up following an early timeout. Orlando's defense, which has been their biggest issue of late, looked better, forcing the Thunder into tough shots on many possessions. Their inability to take care of the ball hurt them, with Oklahoma City turning five Magic mistakes into 10 points. Nikola Vucevic led the way for the Magic with 10, with Russell Westbrook stuffing the stat sheet en route to 12 opening quarter points.
In the second quarter, the Thunder slowly began to impose their will on the struggling Magic. Despite their struggles, the Magic did a lot of good things, especially on the offensive end of the floor. They were able to get into their sets and execute at a high rate, while grabbing 11 offensive rebounds in the half, just seven off their season high. The Magic had success off of those offensive rebounds, outscoring the Thunder 16-to-2 in second chance points. Westbrook notched a first half double-double, finishing with 16 points and 10 assists at the half. Vucevic, along with teammate Tobias Harris, finished with 14 apiece for the Magic in the half.
Out of the halftime break, the wheels came all the way off for the Magic. Their offense, as it so often does, began to stagnate, with their defense struggling to string together consistent stops. Their offensive woes allowed the Thunder to jump up to a 20-point lead, hovering around that mark for almost the entire quarter. The Magic were able to finish the quarter slightly better, cutting the Thunder lead to a somewhat more manageable 15 heading into the fourth quarter. Westbrook continued his total domination, adding seven rebounds to notch his second triple-double of the season. Victor Oladipo's big quarter propelled him to the leader in points for the Magic with 18.
Heading into the fourth, the Magic seemed to have a little bit of momentum, thanks to a 7-to-0 run to end the third quarter. They were able to cut the Thunder lead down to 13 early in the quarter, but were unable to get it any lower before the Thunder pushed it back up to 20. To their credit, the Magic didn't give up late, cutting Oklahoma City's lead to eight before a Westbrook dagger.
Five Thunder players finished the night in double figures, led by Westbrook's 25-point, 14-assist, 11-rebound triple-double. Filling in for an injured Kevin Durant, Dion Waiters scored 24, with Serge Ibaka finishing the night with 16. Sharpshooter Anthony Morrow added 15 off the bench, with Steven Adams rounding out the group with 12.
Five Magic men finished in double figures, led by Oladipo's 22. Vucevic added 20 of his own before fouling out, with Tobias Harris adding 18 in his second straight start. Willie Green added 13 off the bench, with Kyle O`Quinn finishing the night with 11 points and eight rebounds.