The 2016 NBA Draft night trade that sent first-round pick Domantas Sabonis and Victor Oladipo to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Serge Ibaka isn’t one that Orlando Magic fans like to talk about.
Oladipo and Sabonis would both go on to become All-Stars for the Indiana Pacers while Ibaka played in just 56 games for the Magic. Ibaka however, did get to play the role of hero for Orlando against his former team. He did it on this day five years ago as his jumper at the buzzer lifted the Magic to a 119-117 victory over the Thunder.
In a contest that was close throughout the second half at the Paycom Center on Nov. 13, 2016, it looked as though Orlando would run out of gas against the Thunder. The Magic managed to take a six-point lead in the fourth quarter, but with just over a minute to play, that lead had become a four-point deficit.
After a Russell Westbrook jumper had pushed the Oklahoma City lead to 115-111, Elfrid Payton and Evan Fournier came through with big three-pointers to tie the game. Payton’s trey with just under a minute remaining cut the deficit to 115-114 and after Westbrook made a pair of free throws, Fournier’s triple drew the Magic even with 29 seconds to go.
Westbrook finished with 41 points, 12 rebounds and 16 assists, but when the Magic had to, they got a key stop. After Orlando forced a Westbrook miss on the potential go-ahead shot will 11 seconds to go, Payton grabbed the rebound. After a timeout, the Magic had a chance to win.
Payton handled the ball for most of the final possession before finding Ibaka. Matched up against former teammate Steven Adams, Ibaka drove to his right before a fake got Adams in the air. With Adams out of the play, Ibaka calmly knocked down the go-ahead jumper with 0.4 seconds remaining.
Oklahoma City would not get a shot off on the game’s final possession and the Magic escaped with the upset.
Orlando led by as many as 21 in the first half, but that lead was down to 10 by halftime. After three quarters, it was the Thunder who led, 84-82.
Ibaka’s jumper capped a 31-point, nine-rebound night for the former member of Oklahoma City. Payton and Fournier finished with 23 and 21 points, respectively. D.J. Augustin and Aaron Gordon each tallied 12 points in the win while Jeff Green added 11.
In addition to Westbrook’s big night, Enes Kanter finished with 16 points for the Thunder. Andre Roberson, Adams and Oladipo finished with 14, 13 and 12 points, respectively. Adams grabbed 10 rebounds in the loss.
For Ibaka, the 31 points would be the highest scoring total of his Orlando tenure. Making it even sweeter was hitting the game-winner to beat his former team. He did so on this day five years ago.