Durant scores 36, Thunder edge Magic 125-124
OKLAHOMA CITY – Kevin Durant scored 36 points, Russell Westbrook added 32 in his fourth career triple-double and the Oklahoma City Thunder fought off the Orlando Magic 125-124 Thursday night for their fourth straight win.
Westbrook also had 13 assists and 10 rebounds in Oklahoma City's highest-scoring game of the season. It was the second straight game the Thunder set a season high for points in regulation, and this time they even surpassed their output in a triple-overtime win against New Jersey.
Dwight Howard led Orlando with 39 points and 18 rebounds, and J.J. Redick made four 3-pointers and scored 18 points while leading a failed fourth-quarter comeback.
The Magic, who had been surging following those blockbuster trades that overhauled the roster, lost their second straight after a nine-game winning streak.
Jeff Green whirled and connected on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from the left wing to provide the Thunder a little bit of cushion after Orlando had whittled a 12-point deficit down to 111-110 midway through the fourth quarter.
Redick went 3 for 3 from 3-point range during the Magic's 14-5 run, and Howard's hook shot inside got Orlando within one with 4:46 to play. After Westbrook missed a pair of free throws, Jameer Nelson missed a 3-pointer from the top of the key that would've put Orlando in front.
Instead, Durant hit a 3 at the other end and Green followed a few possessions later with his desperation 3 that made it 119-112 with 2:51 remaining.
Durant scored Oklahoma City's final six points as Orlando got within two three times in the final minute. He hit all four of his free throws and hit a tricky leaner over Hedo Turkoglu from the left side with 8.1 seconds left after the Thunder had drained the shot clock.
Jason Richardson hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to provide the final margin and finished with 19 points. Orlando never led.
Nenad Krstic led a strong start by Oklahoma City and wound up with 16 points and 11 rebounds. The Thunder are 7-0 in national TV games this season.
Oklahoma City teamed Westbrook and backup point guard Eric Maynor together in the backcourt late in the third quarter and started expanding on a five-point lead. Thabo Sefolosha hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to end the third quarter, then hit a jumper to start the fourth that put the Thunder up 98-86.
Even that lead wasn't safe with the Magic hitting half of their 28 tries from 3-point range.
Krstic had nine quick rebounds, matching his best total for a game this season, while powering Oklahoma City to an early 15-4 edge on the boards that translated into the scoring column, too. He set up Green's 3-pointer, earned two free throws on a putback try and tipped in another shot during a 16-5 run that provided Oklahoma City with a 22-10 lead.
After missing 10 of its first 13 shots, Orlando got back into the game with strong 3-point shooting led by Ryan Anderson and Gilbert Arenas. The bench duo combined to go 5 for 10 from 3-point range as the Magic cut the deficit down to two before trailing 64-60 at halftime.
NOTES: Howard led all Eastern Conference players in early All-Star voting returns released Thursday, with more than 1.5 million votes. Durant is second in the West, and first among forwards, with 1.27 million. ... There's a belief among some in the NBA that the Skirvin Hilton, where the Magic stayed, is haunted. "What haunts me are guys like Kevin Durant," Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy said. "So, I would say this building is haunted because of guys like him, as are most of the buildings in the NBA. I haven't run into a haunted hotel, just haunted arenas." ... Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops sat courtside in Oklahoma City's eighth straight sellout crowd, and its 18th in 21 games this season.