The Norman Transcript

National Sports

March 23, 2013

Thunder hold off scrappy Magic

(Continued)

ORLANDO, Fla. —

For a while it looked like Harkless might propel to the Magic to the upset.

After a sluggish first half, Orlando took its first lead since early in the first half, 78-76, on a jumper by Beno Udrih with 7:29 to play in the game.

The Thunder fought back and were leading by a point when Durant blocked a layup attempt by Tobias Harris and knocked down a 3-pointer on the other end to push their lead to 86-82.

Udrih hit a 3 to cut the deficit to a point again and following Kendrick Perkins’ missed jumper the Magic tied it again on a free-throw by rookie Kyle O’Quinn.

The Thunder got blocks on Magic layup attempts on back-to-back possessions and broke the stalemate when Durant’s 3 from the wing made it 89-86.

O’Quinn responded with a layup, but Durant hit 1 of 2 free-throws a few possessions later to give the Thunder a two-point cushion.

The Magic came up empty on their ensuing touch and Durant connected on a pair from the foul line to make it 92-88 with 39.1 seconds remaining.

Orlando turned it over out of a timeout, and the Thunder to closed things out at the free throw line.

O’Quinn made his first career start in place of center Nik Vucevic, who missed his second consecutive game with what Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said was a mild concussion.

Vucevic was injured during Orlando’s loss Tuesday night at Indiana.

The Magic didn’t get far into the game before losing Afflalo a few minutes into the second quarter.

Afflalo was hurt while chasing a loose ball and needed assistance from teammates walking off the floor. He did not return.

Oklahoma took advantage, leading by as many as 15 points in the first half by exploiting Orlando’s lack of depth in the front court. The Magic were forced to go small at times, leading to several defensive breakdowns and layups for Oklahoma City.

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