Returning home after an abysmal performance in Toronto, the Orlando Magic welcomed a familiar face in Victor Oladipo and the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Amway Center. Despite leading by as many as 21 in the second half, the Magic crumbled in the fourth quarter, falling to the Thunder 114-106.
Early on, both teams were a bit sloppy, missing shots, turning the ball over and getting shots blocked left and right on both ends. As has been a struggle throughout the season, the Magic offense bogged down, with little movement off the ball causing forced and poor shot attempts. On the other end, Russell Westbrook used his freakish speed and athleticism to wreck havoc on the Magic, scoring nine points to go along with four rebounds —two offensive — and two assists in the quarter. Despite scoring just four points in the first half of the quarter, the Magic found themselves trailing by only two, 20-18, after one quarter.
Turning to their reserves, the Magic got a much needed shot in the arm. Behind high energy on both ends of the floor from Bismack Biyombo, the Magic quickly stole the momentum from the Thunder, using Biyombo’s big blocks, offensive rebounds and a thunderous poster dunk from Mario Hezonja on Enes Kanter to grab control of the game. Shots started falling, and with the crowd suddenly in the game, the Magic looked like a completely different team. Despite their high period of high energy, hustle plays, the Magic weren’t able to completely pull away from Oklahoma City, leading by five, 49-44.
Looking to carry over their energy from the second quarter, the Magic got off to a quick start after the halftime break. Behind a pair of three-pointers from Terrence Ross, and Evan Fournier, the Magic were able to quickly grow their lead to as many as 21 by the midway point of the quarter. Behind the aggressiveness of Westbrook, the Thunder slowly cut into the Magic lead, but every time they’d go on a run, the Magic would seemingly answer and push the lead back towards 15. After three, the Magic, behind Fournier’s 24 points, led the Thunder by 10, 82-72.
Holding a double digit lead, the Magic needed to get the same energy from their bench that they got in the first half to hold the Thunder back. The second unit, however, was not as crisp, but were still able to hold their lead around 10 thanks to equally poor play from the Thunder. As the starters began trickling back in, the Magic began finding their rhythm again, pushing the lead back out to 14 at the midway point of the quarter.
After grabbing that 14 point lead, however, things turned ugly fast for the Magic. As shots began not falling, Westbrook took control, helping the Thunder storm back to within as few as four at the three minute mark. A pair of Nikola Vucevic free throws pushed the lead back to six for the hosts. A layup from Andre Roberson, and a three-pointer from Westbrook, coupled with misses from the Magic, whittled the lead down to one with just over a minute remaining.
Out of a timeout, Ross hit a big jumper to push the lead back to three, with the Magic getting a pair of stops, allowing Vucevic to go to the free throw line to ice it. Vucevic split the pair, putting the Magic up four with 20 seconds to play. Westbrook once again scored out of the timeout, with the Magic nearly turning the ball over on their ensuing out of bounds play. Once they finally got the ball in, Vucevic was once again fouled splitting the pair. Westbrook, between multiple defenders, tied the game, with the Magic turning it over, sending it to overtime.
Ross kicked off the overtime with a big three-pointer, but was quickly answered by a bucket from Westbrook, and a three-pointer from Oladipo. Split free throws, and a three-point play from Westbrook put the Thunder up four, all but ending their night. The Magic just ran out of gas late, with the Thunder proving to be too much.
Westbrook put together yet another monster game, scoring 57 points to go with 11 assists and 13 rebounds for his 38th triple-double of the season. Enes Kanter notched a double-double off the bench with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Oladipo finished with 13 in his first trip back to Orlando.
Fournier led six Magic men in double figures, finishing with 24 on the night. Ross added 23, thanks to a four pack of three-pointers, with Aaron Gordon adding 13. Biyombo scored all 12 of his points in the second quarter, and added 11 rebounds for the double-double. Nikola Vucevic and Elfrid Payton rounded out Magic men in double figures with 11, with Vucevic adding 15 rebounds for another double-double.