With 5:46 remaining in the fourth quarter, Thunder guard Russell Westbrook rolled his left ankle while driving to the basket.
Westbrook remained in the game and played through it, even making two free throws right after sustaining the injury and assisting on two momentum-changing 3-pointers in the final 3 1/2 minutes.
After the game, however, he walked out of the arena with a limp and was said to have an ankle sprain. He will be listed as day-to-day.
“I feel all right,” Westbrook said.
Westbrook has played in 282 consecutive games, the third longest streak among active players. It's a streak that will be at risk for the second time this season when the Thunder closes its three-game road trip at Atlanta on Saturday. Westbrook also rolled his ankle against Golden State on Feb. 17. He had to leave that game but played two nights later and scored 40 points.
Westbrook said his streak is now secondary.
“I'm much more focused on my career,” he said. “I think missing a game instead of missing (more time) in the long run won't hurt you. So we'll just see how it feels and hopefully I'll be able to play.”
SCOTT BROOKS EXPERIMENTING WITH KEVIN DURANT
Thunder coach Scott Brooks rarely deviates from his substitution pattern. But when injuries mounted, Brooks had to start getting creative.
One of the ways he's done that lately is by shortening Kevin Durant's court time at the start of the game. Durant generally plays either all 12 minutes of the first quarter or gets subbed out with about two minutes remaining in the opening period. In a couple of recent games, including Wednesday at Philadelphia, however, Brooks sat Durant with 4 1/2 minutes left in the first period.
“I try to mix it up with him, just to give our second unit a different look,” Brooks said. “It's really game-to-game. I like changing it up with him. I don't do it often. “But with Kevin, he's going to get his minutes because they're always played hard and he's one of our better players. But it really wasn't anything other than just giving the second unit a different look.”
Brooks did say the strategy sometimes depends on matchups, specifically the size of opponents' big men.
“Sometimes he can play (power forward) with the second unit because a lot of teams don't have four bigs,” Brooks said. “You're almost trying to predict what they're going to do and trying to be more aggressive so you can dictate your game plan to the team.”
Durant said he just needs to adjust.
“I still end up playing a lot of minutes…I just got to get used to it more and more,” Durant said. “Every time I step on the floor, I always have a rhythm so I got to know when I'm coming out the game and when I'm going back in so I can be prepared. I'm fine with it. I really believe in everything Coach does and (believe it's) good for our team.”
IBAKA CLEANING THE GLASS
Entering Thursday's game at Orlando, forward Serge Ibaka had pulled down 72 offensive rebounds in his previous 18 games. That's four per game over that stretch.
It's led to a spike in scoring, as Ibaka has averaged 9.8 points over that same span.
“I just try to be more active and not just wait for open shots outside,” Ibaka said. “I'm going inside more, and it's some easy, extra points if I can get offensive rebounds. I try to mix up everything. If I have some open shots outside, I'll take them. Some games, maybe I can't make them and I'll try to go to the offensive rebounds to get some points. It's good for my team and it's good for my confidence, too.”
DURANT BACK IN ORLANDO
Four days after winning MVP honors in the 61st NBA All-Star Game, Durant was back in Amway Center looking to have another big night.
“It feels like I never left,” Durant said. “I had fun here, but that's over with. All-Star MVP was cool. But I was off of that when I got to Philly. I'm just focused on the second half of the season.”
Durant dazzled Thursday nearly as much as he did Sunday. He finished with a game-high 38 points on 12-for-21 shooting. He scored 18 points in the fourth quarter, making five of six shots from the field and two of three from 3-point range. His one-legged jumper from the top of the key right in Magic forward Hedo Turkoglu's face was his most magical shot. It put the Thunder ahead 101-96 with 52.5 seconds remaining.
And this was after Durant all but predicted he'd be in for a tough night.
“I know that this game is not going to be like the All-Star Game,” Durant said before the game. “Let's be real. It wasn't that much defense in the All-Star Game. It's going to be a lot of defense tonight.”
PERKINS NOT WORRIED ABOUT TECHS
Kendrick Perkins reiterated on Thursday that he isn't worried about the possibility of facing a one-game suspension because of numerous technical fouls. He has reason to be confident. On three times as a member of the Celtics, Perkins came within one technical foul of an automatic one-game suspension. But he never got that last one.
“I'm used to this, man,” Perkins said. “I think it's all in your head. I did it before. Like I told coach, ‘Don't worry. I got this. I been here before.'”
Thabo Sefolosha continues to go through light, non-contact shooting drills while recovering from a right foot injury. There still is no timeline for his return, but as he has done over the past few games and practices and shoot-arounds, Sefolosha took standstill shots from various spots during pre-game warm-ups. …Orlando wore black “El Magic” jerseys for the first time in the franchise's history on Wednesday as part of the NBA's tribute to Latin heritage with “Noche Latina,” or “Latin Night.” Because of the special occasion, the Thunder wore home whites on the road. It's the last time the Thunder will wear home jerseys on the road this season.
The Thunder will wrap up its three-game road trip at Atlanta on Saturday night. It will be the only meeting between the two teams this season. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m.