An early season game in Orlando for a healthy Oklahoma City Thunder squad should be no cause for concern but the young and resilient Magic led by Victor Oladipo gave the OKC a run for their money.
After a crazy end to regulation courtesy of clutch shots by Oladipo and Russell Westbrook, the Thunder eventually sealed the deal in double overtime behind 43 points from former MVP Kevin Durant and an impressive all-round performance of 48 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists from the reigning NBA scoring champion Westbrook.
When the stakes go as high as needing to play an extra 2 sessions of 5 minutes each, it’s clear neither team deserves to lose. So the loss must be heartbreaking for the Magic to digest, given that Oladipo had given them a three-point lead with only 3.8 seconds remaining on the clock. However, the young squad’s premature celebrations allowed Westbrook to bank in a quick three-point from near half court to send the game into overtime.
Here’s the crazy finish to the game in regulation:
Orlando Magic had numerous opportunities to seize this game by the throat, alas, they could never hold on to win the game. After the completion of three quarters, the Magic led the Thunder by 18 points 93-75.
A furious comeback by the Oklahoma City saw then outscore their opponents 42-24 in the final period to tie the game. For three periods of the game, the Magic were the better team yet two All-Star level superstars had another script written for the game.
Durant and Westbrook are the only teammates to both record 40 point games in the regular season since 1996 when Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen combined for 84 points. They are also the first pair of teammates to achieve this feat multiple times, the first time being when the Thunder faced the Denver Nuggets in 2012 in an overtime win with Durant scoring 51 and Westbrook 40.
The sloppy end to the game should be no means be an indication of the Orlando Magic’s season. The team is young, talented and really deep at every position. It’s only a question of when the team can start clicking under new Head Coach Scott Skiles.
This game should mean a huge deal for Durant, playing his first double overtime game since returning from three foot injuries on his right leg. A lot of confidence and self-belief would have returned to the former MVP who is playing in a contract year for the Thunder.
Saving the game along with Westbrook and starting the season to a 2-0 start helps the team keeps the doubters at bay at the moment, given the team’s title aspirations this season under new Head Coach Billy Donovan.
Catch the highlights here from the duo’s 40 point games:
Durant’s 43 points:
Westbrook’s insane near triple double performance: