With a 97-89 win Friday night at Orlando, the Thunder is again on pace to win 60 games, which would be the first 60-win season in the franchise's Oklahoma City era.
The Thunder would need to go 9-3 in its final 12 games to finish with exactly 60 wins.
“It would mean a lot,” said Kevin Durant. “It'll be tough to do. But we just got to continue to build on the little things as far as screening, getting deflections and containing at the rim and keeping the ball in front of us. If we do that we'll be pretty good.”
Russell Westbrook also said reaching the 60-win plateau is important to the Thunder but added the team's main focus is on preparing for the postseason.
“Our job is to try to get better and play better basketball leading to the postseason.”
Thunder coach Scott Brooks talked about winning to maintain ground in the playoff race as opposed to simply registering 60 wins.
“The playoff race is so tight. There's going to be a game that separates four or five teams,” Brooks said. “So you can't really focus on that. You just have to focus on the next game and playing well. Whatever we end up with, we're going to end up with a very good record.”
THUNDER SLUMPING FROM 3-POINT RANGE
In the four games prior to Friday's at Orlando, the Thunder had shot just 19.5 percent from the 3-point line. Over the past seven games, that number was just 25.4 percent.
“They're open 3s,” Brooks said. “It's one of the things that we look back at. You don't want to take a contested shot. You want to always find a better shot unless it's late in the shot clock. But those 3s that we missed — 4-for-25 and 2-for-18 — you're going to have that. Hopefully we can get out of it because we're a good 3-point shooting team. I said it last game that more than likely we're going to break out of it and go on a nice hot streak.”
Against the Magic, the Thunder made just five of 21 3-pointers, a 23.8 percent connection rate.
LOOKING FOR BETTER BALL MOVEMENT
The Thunder registered a season-low nine assists against Memphis on Wednesday and, perhaps non-coincidentally, shot a season-low 35.7 percent.
“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.
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.