The Oklahoma City Thunder held on to beat the Orlando Magic 117-104 Friday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena to improve to 49-17 on the season.
The Thunder led by as many as 27 points in the game before the Magic made a run bringing the deficit down to as little as four at one point.
The starters couldn’t rest this fourth quarter and were forced to come back in for the Thudner and ensure the victory.
The Thunder had no issues getting good looks all night long as they shot 55.3 percent from the field as a team. What allowed the Magic to remain without shouting distance was OKC’s 29-for-43 shooting from the free throw line as a team.
Here are the Game Grades:
Kevin Durant – 36 minutes, 26 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists – B+
It wasn’t the prettiest stat line for Durant but he came through when the Thunder needed him too (shocker). He hit a huge three at the end of the third quarter then scored five straight points for the Thunder late in the fourth to seal the deal. This is the second game in a row in which his turnovers have been high while the assists have been low. Over the last two games he has three assists to 14 turnovers, which is pretty terrible. Shooting 1-for-5 from downtown and 9-for-12 from the free throw line is pretty unlike KD too.
Russell Westbrook – 37 minutes, 23 points, 6 assists, 6 rebounds – A
It wasn’t Westbrook’s best game but give him a ton of credit for playing 37 minutes and not turning the ball over. That’s always a fantastic sign for the Thunder and a sign of growth in Westbrook’s game. He also went 3-for-6 from downtown which was nice to see as he looked very comfortable all night and when that’s the case, his shot is usually going down.
Serge Ibaka – 28 minutes, 20 points, 6 rebounds, 3 blocks – A
This was one of Ibaka’s best games of the year. He shot 8-of-10 from the field and the Thunder outscored Orlando by 13 while he was in. Ibaka showed a wide variety of scoring moves in this game which is always fun to see when thinking about the future of this Thunder team. Ibaka will definitely blossom into a more versatile scorer some day.
Kevin Martin – 22 minutes, 15 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists – B+
When Martin does things other than score, it’s always a big plus for OKC. The rebounding and now increasing of assists of late has been huge for the Thunder second unit. It seems to kind of make Martin better at scoring too when he’s trying to create rather than just settle for deep threes all night. We have been seeing lately Scott Brooks play Thabo Sefolosha in crunch time over Martin, especially when the Thunder have the lead, to get more defense on the floor.
Kendrick Perkins – 32 minutes, 5 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists – B+
Perkins didn’t exactly keep Nikola Vucevic off the glass all night because he had 14 rebounds but Perk got 12 boards of his own to even it out. Perkins has also been great all year passing the ball and got three assists last night. He can easily get these dimes against inferior teams that are a beat late on their defensive rotations, which was the case vs. Orlando.
Thabo Sefolosha – 30 minutes, 5 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists – B
Sefolosha didn’t get a lot of shot attempts but still played well. He is always solid on defense and made a few nice plays, including a great no-look pass in the fourth, picking up three assists.
Nick Collison – 18 minutes, 7 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist – B
Just another day at the office for Collison that did his thing while playing more center than usual with Hasheem Thabeet missing the game with a sore lower back. It’s always a bonus when you can get seven points out of Collison.
Reggie Jackson – 13 minutes, 4 points, 1 assist, 1 rebound – B
Jackson was okay last night but didn’t seem to have the ball in his hands as much as he has been lately. He had one great highlight in the first half making a steal then finishing on the other end with a two-handed windmill.
Derek Fisher – 14 minutes, 4 points, 2 rebounds, 1 steal – B
You can’t complain about Fisher when he knocks down shots. He’s always going to bring the defensive energy as well which worked well at times last night against a young Magic team.
Perry Jones, III – 11 minutes, 8 points, 5 rebounds – A+
Jones had his best game as a pro last night. He made his first four shots and just did a great job overall moving around in the offense. He got the nod because of Thabeet’s injury but maybe will start getting more burn if Brooks would rather go smaller with his second unit against some teams.