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Oklahoma City Thunder: Serge Ibaka shuts down Jameer Nelson in Thunder's win over Magic

Jameer Nelson, the generously-listed 6-foot Orlando Magic point guard, was leading a furious second-half rally when Serge Ibaka stepped up and provided the perfect spark a listless Thunder team needed to hang on for a 117-104 victory on Friday night inside Chesapeake Energy Arena.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: March 15, 2013

OKC had nine of its 21 assists in the first period, eight coming on the team's first 10 makes. Five different Thunder players had an assist in the quarter, with Westbrook leading the way with four.

An all-reserve lineup then started the second quarter on an 18-4 run, blowing open the game and making it appear as if the Magic would be all but put out of its misery midway through the period.

Martin scored all six of his second-quarter points in succession to give the Thunder a 57-30 lead with 7:42 left in the half. He hit a turnaround jump shot, sneaked behind the defense for an alley-oop from Reggie Jackson and converted a pair of foul shots. Jackson, Nick Collison and Perry Jones III scored four points apiece in the period and Derek Fisher added two.

At halftime, Martin was one of four Thunder players in double figure scoring. Ibaka scored 10, Durant had 12 points and Westbrook had 14 points with three rebounds and four assists.

With a 73-56 halftime lead, the Thunder set a season high for its most points in any half. The Thunder's record for points in a half is 74, set March 24, 2010, against Houston.

“You're not going to be able to score many more points than that at the half,” Brooks said. “But I thought that our second unit did a good job of extending that lead and building a 27-point lead. But then we just didn't play with the type of focus that we needed.”

Orlando hung around in the second half, doing all it could to keep things from getting ugly. That's when it nearly turned that way for the Thunder.

Trailing 83-61 with 7:05 remaining in the third quarter, the Magic used a 21-6 spurt — which included an 11-1 run — to pull within seven with 1:03 left in the period.

But Durant answered with a 3-pointer off a feed from Westbrook, and after a Tobias Harris jumper, Westbrook drilled another 3 to bump the Thunder's lead back to 11 entering the fourth quarter.

Orlando still wouldn't go away.

The Magic went on an 11-2 run in a four-minute span to cut a 13-point deficit to four. Ibaka split a pair of foul shots at one end and then provided the most pivotal play of the night against Nelson at the other.

Asked if the blown lead was disappointing, Westbrook, as always, was short and to the point.

“We won,” he said.