Thunder hold off Magic in double overtime thriller

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Russell Westbrook AFP PHOTO

Russell Westbrook AFP PHOTO

LOS ANGELES: Russell West¬brook scored 48 points and Kevin Durant poured in 43 to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 139-136 victory over the Orlando Magic in a double-overtime NBA thriller on Friday (Saturday in Manila).

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Westbrook and former NBA Most Valuable Player Durant combined to score nine of Oklahoma city’s 13 points in the second overtime to seal the win in Orlando.

“Sometimes, you just have to let the big dogs run,” said Durant, who missed 55 games last season with ankle and foot injuries. “That was fun out there tonight. Russell was almost super-human.”

In a roller-coaster of a contest, the Thunder had erased an 18-point deficit in the fourth quarter, then led through most of both overtimes.

Westbrook banked in a 38-foot desperation shot with 0.7 seconds left in regulation to force the first extra period with the score tied at 117-117—after Orlando guard Victor Oladipo connected on a three-pointer with 3.9 seconds to play that made it 117-114 for the Magic.

Durant had knotted the score at 114-114 with a three-pointer after the Magic had led the entire game and opened the fourth quarter with an 18-point lead.

In the first overtime Oladipo — who had a triple-double of 21 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists — sank a game-tying three-pointer as time expired to force the second extra session.

The Magic came up empty on two attempts to tie the score in the waning seconds of the second overtime, when Durant blocked three-point attempts by Evan Fournier and Oladipo.

Although the Thunder were hurt by 21 turnovers in regulation, Westbrook and Durant wouldn’t be denied.

Westbrook added 11 rebounds and eight assists and Durant finished with 12 rebounds.

Serge Ibaka had eight points and 12 rebounds for the Thunder and reserve forward Enes Kanter had 10 points, including nine in the final period when he sparked a late Thunder rally.

Forward Tobias Harris led the Magic with 30 points. Center Nikola Vucevic contributed 26 and Fournier scored 22.

But Orlando coach Scott Skiles said his young team didn’t stay poised in the toughest moments.

“When it got tight, you could see Russell starting to pick it up,” Skiles said. “And we had trouble even handling the ball. We just got away from what we were doing. We played well enough to win this game, but when it’s time to make big plays, we didn’t make them.”

AFP

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