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Thunder's stars stand tall in win over Orlando Magic

by Berry Tramel Modified: January 14, 2011 at 9:40 am •  Published: January 13, 2011

Kevin Durant twisted past Hedo Turkoglu on the left wing, and here came Dwight Howard.

Superman swats away shots like a giant windshield wiper. Blocks them or sends them on wild-goose detours away from the rim.

Durant had to hurry. The shot clock was expiring, the game was in the balance, and all Orlando needed was a stop so that it could drain yet another 3-pointer and send the Thunder to defeat.

But on this Thursday night, with America's NBA fans watching on TNT, shots went in and stars stood tall.

Durant's floating 15-footer beat the clock, sailed over Howard's menacing hand and nestled in the basket with 8.1 seconds in one of the most rousing games in Oklahoma City's five-year NBA history.

That shot gave the Thunder a four-point lead, and OKC beat the Magic 125-124 in a monument to offensive efficiency.

“Obviously, we couldn't stop them,” said Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy. “They hit a lot of shots. They hit a ton of shots.”

Of course, the same could be said of the Magic, which made 14 of 28 3-pointers; got 39 points from Superman, a notoriously-bad foul shooter who made 17 of 20 from the line; and committed just five turnovers. And yet Orlando lost.

Durant made 13 of 17 shots and scored 36 points. Russell Westbrook made 11 of 22 shots and posted a triple double (32 points, 13 assists, 10 rebounds). Against a team fifth in the NBA in scoring defense (93.3 points a game) and field-goal defense (43.9 percent), the Thunder scored 125 and shot 56.4 percent.

You know how we always call 89-78 games ugly? Then you have to anoint this one gorgeous.

The Thunder can't win like this come the playoffs. But on a cold January night, it was a lot of fun. And somewhat important.

Since routing the Bulls on Opening Night, the Thunder was 0-5 at home against the best teams in the league. Utah. Boston. San Antonio. Dallas twice.

Darnell Mayberry's game notes

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