Kevin Durant hits game-winner as Oklahoma City Thunder defeat Orlando Magic

By Michael Kinney, The Sports Xchange  |  Feb. 4, 2016 at 1:04 AM
share with facebook
share with twitter

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant has said on more than one occasion this year that he is at his best when the pressure is on.

However, Wednesday, he found himself banged up physically and enduring a rough shooting night. Despite that, when Durant's number was called in the final second, he came through with a game-winning shot to lead the Thunder to an 117-114 victory over the Orlando Magic at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.

"That's a part of life, that's a part of basketball man," Durant said. "There's going to be bumps in the road. It's how you respond that makes you tough. I just tried to respond tonight."

Durant scored 37 on 12 of 25 from the field and 6 of 12 from 3-point range. Guard Russell Westbrook was just as impressive with 24 points, 19 rebounds and 14 assists. It was his eighth triple-double of the season and a career high in rebounds as the Thunder improved to 38-13.

"I thought we did a good job of executing," Westbrook said. "I just try to go out and try to find a way to help us win. Tonight, coached emphasized us helping the guys on the rebounds. The other team does a good job of offensive rebounding. I tried to eliminate that by helping our bigs out, and getting the ball and getting out on the break."

Guard Victor Oladipo paced the Magic with 37 points and seven rebounds. Center Nikola Vucevic and guard Mario Hezonja each scored 16 points for Orlando as the Magic dropped to 21-27.

Even though the Magic played hard, the loss was difficult to swallow.

"I can't even describe it, it's tough," Oladipo said. "It's a tough loss. It's just a tough loss. I really don't know what else to say. It's just heartbreaking really."

With 6:44 left in the fourth quarter, Westbrook streaked coast to coast for a layup to give the Thunder a one-point lead. Magic center Jason Smith answered with a long jumper from the top of the key.

Durant then came down and buried a 3-pointer before coming up with a steal on the other end.

Oladipo knocked in a jumper to tie the game and hit a pair of free throws to put the Magic ahead 111-109.

Even though the Magic had Durant double-teamed, he responded with a 3-pointer with 2:45 on the clock. Smith countered with a corner 3-pointer of his own to put the Magic up by two.

The Thunder defense forced the Magic into a bad shot and Oklahoma City got the rebound with 38 seconds left.

Westbrook tied the game with a layup before Thunder forward Serge Ibaka blocked Oladipo's layup attempt. Instead of calling a timeout, the Thunder took the ball upcourt. With the game tied and forward Tobias Harris guarding him, Durant drained a game-winning 3-pointer with 0.5 seconds on the clock.

"They were off balance a little bit and I seen that he didn't know what was going to happen," Durant said. "The screen was coming, so I seen that he kept turning his head. And the left to right cross (dribble), I've been working on that since I was six years old. Just felt confident in the shot when I let it go."

Oklahoma City was all about ball movement to start the game. They had nine assists in their first 14 baskets with six players scoring at least one basket.

However, the Thunder's defense was less effective. The Magic shot 53 percent in the first quarter and a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Hezonja tied the game at 32-32 heading into the second quarter.

The Thunder couldn't slow down Oladipo in the first half. He missed only two shots on his way to 17 points.

Westbrook was two rebounds short of a triple-double in the first half, yet Oklahoma City only held a 66-65 advantage at halftime.

"For most of the night, once again, our defense was off," Magic coach Scott Skiles said. "We just made a ton of shots tonight and was able to stay in the game. But their point guard (Westbrook) had 12 defensive rebounds. Our closest guy was Victor with six."

NOTES: Oklahoma City F Kevin Durant received the Western Conference Player of the Month award for January. During the month, Durant was second in the NBA in scoring (28.5) and added 9.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists to help the Thunder to an 13-3 record. He shot 49.7 percent from the field and 88.8 percent from the free throw line. "You can play a perfect defensive possession against Kevin Durant," Orlando coach Scott Skiles said, "he can still score on you." ... Orlando C Dewayne Dedmon sat out with a sprained foot. "He was in practice yesterday, doing some three-on-three and stuff like that," Skiles said. "He got through it all. He knew when he did, but he kept on playing. Started experiencing some soreness back at the hotel." ... Durant announced via Twitter that a movie about his mother is being made for LifeTime TV. "I can never thank my mom enough for all she's done and sacrificed," Durant posted. "See it all in #TheRealMVP: The Wanda Pratt Story coming to @lifetimetv."

Related UPI Stories
Trending Stories