The Orlando Magic forced the Oklahoma City Thunder into a sloppy game that was ripe for a victory. But their own sloppiness halted their momentum.
The Orlando Magic had a two-point lead, surviving a dreadful third quarter that had them missing shots in almost every conceivable way. They still had the lead and a chance to regain their footing. Russell Westbrook was struggling and the Oklahoma City Thunder were turning the ball over.
With the score tied at 77 late in the third quarter, the Magic turned it over on three of the next four possessions. That helped power a 9-0 run for the Thunder to end the third quarter and give them the lead for good. The Magic were not ever to get their offense going long enough to crack the Thunder’s sometimes flimsy defense.
Not in the Russell Westbrook emphatic way. But in a slow burn. It was Patrick Patterson working the post or the Thunder dishing it out to Alex Abrines for a three. It was Oklahoma City grabbing offensive rebounds and burning the Magic for their lack of effort and focus at key moments.
Oklahoma City won 112-105 at Chesapeake Energy Arena, holding off a final rally from Evan Fournier and Orlando at the end. Paul George buried a three in the corner as he fell to ice the game and give Oklahoma City a four-point lead. That carried the team enough with Westbrook struggling to score and struggling with turnovers.
But Orlando never took advantage of all of Oklahoma City’s mistakes. The Thunder turned it over 20 times including seven from Westbrook. It was a sloppy game for Oklahoma City. Orlando had an early offensive surge that gave them 38 first-quarter points and as much as an 11-point lead. But the team’s defense was always inconsistent.
The Magic were unable to dig themselves out of their rut. Nor play defense long enough to keep the Thunder in contact at the end.
The Orlando Magic return home to take on the Toronto Raptors at the Amway Center on Wednesday.