Nearly each Magic drive to the basket was met by two and three defenders and a hand that batted shot attempts back where they came from. Durant had one. Kendrick Perkins had one. Russell Westbrook had one. Serge Ibaka rejected two.
“They hit some 3s in that third that got them over the top and that kind of put us on edge a little bit. That's when they started to drive to the rim,” Durant said. “But we stayed solid with closing up the paint and peeling out to the 3-point line. Those guys were driving and we just contained them at the rim and rebounded the ball.”
Westbrook and Durant combined to score 21 of the Thunder's 27 points in the fourth quarter, including a stretch in which Westbrook scored or assisted on 10 straight.
Durant made a pair of foul shots with 39.1 seconds remaining to give the Thunder a 92-88 lead, and that's when Orlando's inexperience got the best of it.
Tobias Harris attempted to inbound the ball from just past half-court but turned it over on a bad pass. Westbrook split a pair of free throws at the other end to push the lead to five, and Jameer Nelson missed a tightly contested 3-pointer over Perkins.
“When the game gets close like that you've got to find a way to will your team to wins and find a way to get a victory,” said Westbrook. “I think that's what we did tonight.”