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.
The Thunder shot 60.3 percent (38 for 63) from 2-point range on Friday, but struggled elsewhere, shooting 30.8 percent (4 for 13) from 3-point range and 67.4 percent (29 for 43) from the free-throw line.
OKC shot 64.3 percent 27 for 42) from the floor in the first half, but just 44.1 (15 for 34) percent in the second half.
Durant entered the game as the league leader in free-throw percentage at .909, but went 9 for 12 to fall to second place (.906300) behind Stephen Curry (.906382), who played at home against Chicago late Friday.
Including the postseason, Friday night's game marked the 100th consecutive sellout at Chesapeake Energy Arena (18,203) for the Thunder, with 81 straight coming in the regular season.
Thunder reserve center Hasheem Thabeet sat out of Friday's game with a sore lower back and officially is day-to-day. … OKC set a season high with 73 points in the first half. The Thunder record for points in a half is 74 on March 24, 2010, against Houston. … OKC center Kendrick Perkins was whistled for a technical foul in the third quarter and tied Durant for the team lead with 12. … Perkins had 12 rebounds, one shy of tying his season high. … The Thunder bench outscored the Magic bench 38-6. … OKC and Orlando tied at 56-56 for points in the paint, but the Magic outscored the Thunder 15-10 in second-chance points and 20-16 in fast-break points.
Thunder coach Scott Brooks after Friday's game: “The bright spot about this game is that it's over with.”