Things the Magic lost on Tuesday:
- Mo Bamba (stress fracture in foot, out indefinitely)
- Another double-digit lead (up by 12 in the third)
- A game to the Thunder (132-122, season-high in points allowed)
- A chance at a three-game winning streak (has happened only once this season)
- A half-game in the playoff race (now 3.5 games behind the Heat for the eighth spot)
The Magic kept pace with the Thunder early on as Aaron Gordon and Jonathan Isaac accounted for more than half of the Magic offense in the first quarter. Gordon had 10 points and Isaac added eight, with both shooting 4-for-5 from the field, as Orlando moved the ball well and took a 32-31 lead after the first.
A three by Terrence Ross with 7:25 remaining in the second capped a 10-2 Magic run that opened a 48-38 lead. Thanks in part to a three-point shooting barrage by Paul George, who last week against the Magic had 31 first-half points, the Thunder evened the score at 55. Orlando closed the quarter strong, shooting just under 60 percent in the half, to take a 69-62 lead into the break.
The 69 points the Magic posted were a season-high for points in a half. Gordon led the way in the half with 15 points, six assists and four rebounds. Terrence Ross added 12 points off the bench and Evan Fournier had 11.
The Magic led by 12 with 8:56 to go in the third before the Thunder went on a 13-2 run to cut the Magic lead to 81-80 with 6:13 remaining. OKC took a 90-89 lead on a three by Dennis Schroder with three minutes left and closed the third on a 13-3 run to carry a 98-92 lead into the fourth. Add it all up and the Thunder went on a 31-13 run in the quarter.
Nothing changed early in the fourth as the Thunder opened the quarter on a 13-4 run to build a 111-97 advantage. Fournier responded with a three to spark a 7-0 run that cut the Thunder lead to seven. The run reached 11-2 after Isaac blocked a three-point attempt by George and then hit a pair of free throws to make it 113-108 with 4:26 remaining.
That was as close as the Magic would get.
George finishing with 39 points, eight rebounds, three assists and three steals, for his eighth 30+ point performance in his last nine games. George, who scored 37 last week against the Magic, shot 9 of 26 from the field, 6 of 15 from three and 13 of 14 from the line.
Russell Westbrook recorded his seventh consecutive triple-double with 16 points, 16 assists and 15 rebounds. It matched the longest triple-double streak of his career. Schroder, who torched the Magic last week in the fourth quarter, added 20 points. Jerami Grant had 19 points and 11 rebounds as seven players finished in double figures for the Thunder, who shot 50 percent from the field and connected on 13 of 30 three-point attempts (43.3 percent).
Ross, whose name will no doubt come up in trade rumors on Wednesday, celebrated his 28th birthday with a team-high 26 points on 8 of 18 shooting, including 5-for-13 from three. Fournier had 25 points, five rebounds and five assists. Gordon had 18 points and a career-high 10 assists. Nikola Vucevic, who will compete in the Skills Competition at All-Star Weekend, had a well-rounded game with 17 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Isaac added 14 points, four rebounds and two blocks.
The Magic now sit 3.5 games out of the eighth playoff spot in the East. They next play on Thursday in Orlando against the Timberwolves. That game will be played just hours after the NBA trade deadline.
We’ll soon find out if the roster will look any different next time they take the court.