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Magic drop 2nd consecutive close game as Durant runs wild

January 14, 2011

The Orlando Magic had a rough go of it last night defensively and that was only compounded by the lights out shooting and energy that was brought by Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.  The Thunder defeated the Magic on Thursday night 125-124.

A few quick notes from the game and then I’ll bring you what those around the web took from the game.

– Dwight Howard had a monster game despite getting into early 1st quarter foul trouble.  Dwight finished the game with 39 points and 18 rebounds and most impressively made 17 of his 20 free throws. Quite a sharp contrast from the night before when he missed two clutch free throws that would have likely won the game for the Magic.

– Russell Westbrook went into beast mode and neither Jameer Nelson nor Gilbert Arenas could do much to stop the speed and size of Westbrook.  Russell had his 4th career triple double and finished with 32 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds.

– It was a similar night for Kevin Durant who was virtually impossible to stop when he got the ball.  The Thunder ran a lot of back and staggered screens to get Durant open shots and he couldn’t miss.  KD shot 13-17 from the field and finished with 36 points.  The Thunder are tough enough to beat as it is, let alone when Durant and Westbrook are both going off.

– For the Magic, it was the bench that kept them in the game for the most part.  With Jameer, Hedo and Brandon all struggling to make shots, J.J., Ryan Anderson and Gilbert stepped up.  Redick led the Bench Mobb with 18 points while Ryan and Gil chipped in 15 and 9 respectively.  The trio also continued its strong shooting going 9-16 from three-point range.

The word around the web:

Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel points out that the Magic are continually getting off to slow starts and asked Stan Van Gundy about that:

What disappointed Van Gundy, though, was that his team played poorly at the beginning of the game, trailing 35-27 at the end of the first quarter. For the Magic, it continued a disturbing pattern in which they’ve permitted opponents to jump out to early leads.

“I don’t think it has anything to do with the road,” Van Gundy said. “I just think that maybe we’ve got the wrong group playing. I don’t know. We’ll have to look at that. Or maybe they need to do something to get off to better starts. But it seems like we’re down 10 every night playing out of a hole.”

That is a very intriguing quote from Stan and it will be interesting to see if any changes are made.  Could it mean Gilbert Arenas starting over Jameer Nelson? Or perhaps Redick, Jason Richardson and Hedo starting together with Bass to the bench?  Both would be dramatic shifts, but neither are out of the question.

Evan Dunlap of the Orlando Pinstriped Post felt that even though the defense was bad awful, especially the transition D, that things could be much worse for the Magic:

Really, though, if Brandon Bass nails but one of his several missed 18-footers, or if Hedo Turkoglu makes two more free throws, to name but two hypotheticals, Orlando comes away with a big victory. I get that losing two straight after a 9-game win streak rankles the fans, but the losses came on the road, in a back-to-back situation, by a combined 4 points. Let’s try to maintain perspective here.

While I agree with Evan, the win-loss column unfortunately does not take into consideration “what ifs”.

Welcome to Loud City, a Thunder blog, called it the biggest win of the season for Oklahoma City:

Biggest win of the year?

I’d say so. It’s not the most intense win of the year, but I’ve never seen the Thunder manhandle such a good team throughout the game and then shut them out so well in the fourth. Sure, the Magic did get dangerously close, but the Thunder were always in control of their destiny, and (for the most part) made plays when it mattered.

Yes, it was quite a big win for the Thunder, but they shut the Magic out in the 4th quarter? No. The Magic scored basically at will and put up 38 4th quarter points.  The problem for the Magic is they couldn’t control the hot shooting from the Thunder.  Specifically a “look what I found” three pointer from Jeff Green with 1 second on the shot clock and less than 3 minutes remaining in the game, as well as Kevin Durant’s CLUTCH 15 foot jumper with 8 seconds left which sealed the game.

In the end, the Thunder made the big shots and the Magic couldn’t do anything to stop them.  That was the story of the night.

Next up for the Magic is another road game against Kevin Love and the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday night.  Game time is set for 8PM EST and will be broadcast locally on FS Florida.

 

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