Okarche basketball player Rae Grellner has played the Big House twice and on Friday night she made her debut at even a bigger house.
The past two seasons, Grellner has played the national anthem on the violin before an Okarche game during the state high school basketball tournament at State Fair Arena.
She added a Thunder game to her musical resume Friday by playing the anthem before the NBA contest between the Thunder and Orlando Magic at Chesapeake Energy Arena before a sellout crowd of 18,203.
Just like at State Fair Arena, Grellner received a thunderous ovation after performing.
After Friday morning's shootaround at the Thunder practice facility, three-time scoring champ Kevin Durant explained how OKC couldn't afford to overlook any opponent, not even an 18-47 Orlando team that was a 16 1/2-point underdog.
“We look at ourselves as one of the top teams in the league,” Durant said. “We have to do it night in and night out. That's what the great teams do. That's what the San Antonios, the Miamis, the Denvers, the Pacers, that's what they do every single game no matter who they're playing.”
The Thunder potentially could have suffered the worst collapse in franchise history. After leading by 27 with 7:42 left in the second quarter, OKC's lead had dwindled to 103-99 halfway through the fourth quarter and Orlando had three possessions to pull even closer.
The Thunder closed out the game with a 14-5 run to improve to 30-4 at home on the season and to 9-3 at home against Eastern Conference opponents.
“It was a disappointing effort in the third (quarter), but I liked the way we finished,” Durant said.