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OKC Thunder on pace for first 60-win season

by Darnell Mayberry Published: March 22, 2013
/articleid/3770498/1/pictures/1990354">Photo - Oklahoma City Thunder's Russell Westbrook (0) dribbles up the middle of the key while defended by Orlando Magic's Tobias Harris (12) during the second half of an NBA basketball game on Friday, March 22, 2013, in Orlando, Fla. The Oklahoma City Thunder won 97-89.  (AP Photo/Willie J. Allen Jr.) ORG XMIT: FLWA108
Oklahoma City Thunder's Russell Westbrook (0) dribbles up the middle of the key while defended by Orlando Magic's Tobias Harris (12) during the second half of an NBA basketball game on Friday, March 22, 2013, in Orlando, Fla. The Oklahoma City Thunder won 97-89. (AP Photo/Willie J. Allen Jr.) ORG XMIT: FLWA108

“We talked about that,” Brooks said. “Definitely when we have our good games we're moving the basketball. We just got to keep doing that. There's going to be defensive battles like that last game. I wasn't disappointed with basically either end of the ball because they competed, we competed and it was a playoff game in March. And when you get those type of games in the regular season, that's only going to make you a better player down the stretch.”

MAGIC LOSES LEADING SCORER

Orlando leading scorer Arron Afflalo had to be helped off the court with 9:09 remaining in the second quarter after injuring his leg while recovering a loose ball.

Afflalo did not return to the game. Magic officials said Afflalo sustained a hamstring injury.

Afflalo averaged a team-best 16.7 points and also led the team in minutes at 36.4 per game.

ROOKIES SHINE BRIGHT FOR ORLANDO

It was a pair of first-year players that helped Orlando give the Thunder a scare Friday night.

Maurice Harkless, the 15th overall pick out of St. John's, and Kyle O'Quinn, the 49th overall selection out of Norfolk State, both nearly recorded double-doubles and helped the Magic have a chance to tie the game in the final minute.

Harkless scored a team-high 25 points with nine rebounds, while O'Quinn, making his first career start, had 11 points and nine rebounds.

Magic point guard Jameer Nelson added 16 points and 10 assists, and Tobias Harris had 10 points and a game-high 15 rebounds.

TIP-INS

Thunder forward Nick Collison was a game-time decision with a groin contusion. He played through the injury and scored 11 points with three rebounds and one assist in 19 minutes. … Magic center Nikola Vucevic missed his second consecutive game Friday. The Magic said he has a concussion. …Pro golfer Bubba Watson was in attendance Friday night. He sat courtside. …Orlando wore its “El Magic” jerseys as part of the NBA's “Noche Latina” campaign. …The Thunder had 11 blocks Friday against Orlando. It was the 17th game this season that OKC has registered double-digit blocked shots.

by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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