Published March 01, 2012
ORLANDO, Fla. – Kevin Durant scored 38 points, including 18 in the fourth quarter, and Russell Westbrook added 29 points and 10 rebounds as the Oklahoma City Thunder erased a 14-point deficit to hold on to beat the Orlando Magic 105-102 on Thursday night.
The Magic had a chance to tie it in the final seconds, but Jason Richardson's long 3-pointer bounced off the backboard at the buzzer.
The Thunder's win was their seventh straight, matching a streak from earlier in the season.
Dwight Howard scored 33 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead all five Magic starters in double figures, but they struggled to shoot from the field down the stretch.
The Magic dropped to 0-2 against the Thunder this season, following their season-opening loss at Oklahoma City on Christmas night.
After struggling to keep up with the Thunder during a season-opening loss at Oklahoma City, Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said they would need to limit the Thunder's opportunities around the rim as well as their free-throw attempts to compete in the rematch.
The Magic did a decent job at both in the first half limiting the Oklahoma City, who entered the game leading the NBA with 960 free-throw attempts, to just seven attempts at the half.
But the Thunder found their way to the stripe in the second half and finished at their season average of 27 attempts.
Orlando took an 11-point lead into the fourth quarter before turnovers and multiple empty offensive possessions allowed the Thunder to surge to a 93-89 lead with 3:22 to play.
Jameer Nelson's 3-pointer pulled the Magic within 96-94 before Durant's fifth 3 of the night pushed it back to 99-94.
After a badly missed jumper by Kendrick Perkins, Nelson kept the Magic's momentum going and found Howard for an alley-oop.
But Durant stayed hot with a 19-foot jumper that quickly stilled the crowd.
Ryan Anderson banked in a 3 in the closing seconds and Daequan Cook missed a pair of free throws with 3.1 seconds left to set up Richardson's last heave.
The Magic used hot shooting to take a 53-50 lead into the break.
Orlando held as much as a nine-point edge, shooting 55 percent (21 for 38) in the half and connecting on six 3s. The Thunder shot 48 percent (20 for 41), but the Magic also limited them to nine fastbreak points while holding a 24-20 advantage on points in the paint.
It helped offset Westbrook's 17 first-half points, with Anderson pacing the Magic with 10 points.
Notes: The Thunder improved to a Western Conference-best 14-7 on the road this season. ... Magic F Quentin Richardson sat out his second straight game with a strained left Achilles tendon. ... Orlando was the first NBA city to celebrate a Noche Latina (Latin Night) game on Thursday. The Magic wore special El Magic jerseys to coincide with several other Latin-themed arena activities. Six other NBA cities will have Noche Latina throughout the month.