Magic stage late, furious rally, fall short against Thunder
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Kevin Durant had 28 points, nine rebounds and five assists, and the Oklahoma City Thunder won their 12th straight home game to open the season, holding off the Orlando Magic for a 101-98 victory Sunday night.
Russell Westbrook added 20 points, 12 rebounds and six assists for Oklahoma City, which has won six straight overall and 14 of its last 15. The Thunder have beaten the Magic in five straight meetings.
An 11-1 run near the end of the first half gave Oklahoma City control and the Thunder never trailed again, although Orlando rallied within two points in the final minute. Durant hit a free throw and Serge Ibaka blocked a shot by Nikola Vucevic in the final moments to preserve the win.
The Thunder’s 12-game home winning streak matches their second-longest since the franchise moved to Oklahoma City. The Thunder won 14 in a row at Chesapeake Energy Arena from January-March 2012.
Arron Afflalo scored 25 points and Vucevic had 13 points and 16 rebounds for his 11th double-double this season for Orlando, which has lost 11 of its 13 road games.
A putback by Tobias Harris capped a 9-0 run by Orlando and tied the game at 45-45 with 3:38 left in the first half. After a timeout, Durant scored nine points in the 11-1 spurt by Oklahoma City and the Thunder led 56-49 at halftime.
Orlando was within 67-62 after a 3-pointer by Jameer Nelson with 6:21 left in the third quarter, but Thabo Sefolosha had a follow dunk and a driving layup during a 16-7 run near the end of the quarter.
The Magic scored eight straight points and cut the margin to 96-88 on a basket by Victor Oladipo with 3:58 left. Durant answered by feeding Westbrook for a layup, then grabbed a rebound off a miss by Nelson and drove the length of the court for a layup. That proved to be the Thunder’s final basket.
Nelson hit a 3-pointer – with Westbrook defending – with 31.9 seconds left to pull Orlando within 100-96 with 31.9 seconds to go. Westbrook turned the ball over moments later, leading to a basket by Maurice Harkless with 22.3 seconds left.
Durant made 1 of 2 free throws with 13 seconds left to extend the Thunder’s lead to 101-98. Glen Davis missed a 3-point attempt and Vucevic tried to tip the ball in. Vucevic initially was awarded a basket on a goaltending call against Ibaka with 1.3 seconds left. After a video review, officials overturned their call and ruled there should be a jump ball at center court between Ibaka and Vucevic.
The tip went to Harris, but his 3-point attempt came after the buzzer.
The double-double by Westbrook was his sixth of the season and second in a row, following the one he had Friday against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Orlando had five players score in double figures — one more than the Thunder — but the Magic hurt themselves at the free throw line, finishing 17 of 26 (65.4 percent), compared to 18 of 20 for the Thunder (90 percent)
Reserve Jeremy Lamb scored 16 points and Reggie Jackson added 10 for the Thunder. Oladipo scored 15 for Orlando, with Nelson scoring 13 and Davis adding 11.
NOTES: Sefolosha returned to the starting lineup after missing three games due to a sprained knee. He finished with six points in 23:01. . Oklahoma City recorded its 100th straight sellout at Chesapeake Energy Arena, which seats 18,203. . Orlando’s Nelson was called for a technical foul less than three minutes into the game for disputing a call. . Oklahoma City C Kendrick Perkins received a technical with 4:34 left in the third quarter after complaining about a foul called on him. . Davis left the game holding his left shoulder with 2:06 left but returned in the final seconds.