The Norman Transcript

Sports

March 16, 2013

After leading by nearly 30, Thunder have to fight off Magic rally for victory

Oklahoma City clinches spot in postseason

(Continued)

OKLAHOMA CITY —

“If that’s the case, you are setting yourself up for not a lot of good results,” Brooks said. “No matter who you play, you can’t change your mindset depending on your opponent.”

The Thunder were in position to clinch a playoff spot with a Golden State loss Friday night.. The Warriors were still playing as of press time.

Nelson led the Magic with 26 points on 10-for-21 shooting. That included going 5 for 12 from behind the arc. Nikola Vucevic added 21 points and 14 rebounds while Arron Affalo scored 20 points.

Durant paced the Thunder with 26 points and nine rebounds to go along with six turnovers. That gave him 14 turnovers in the last two games.

Westbrook chipped in with 23 points, six assists and six rebounds. Ibaka scored 20 points and grabbed six rebounds.

“We made plays on both ends,” Durant said. “We passed the ball and made some shots in the fourth. It was a disappointing effort in the third, but I liked the way we finished.”

The game began to get out of hand for the Magic in the second quarter. And it was the Thunder bench that did most of the damage. First round pick Perry Jones came off the bench and had six points, two rebounds and a block in the first four minutes. It was his first meaningful action in weeks.

“I felt comfortable thanks to the vets,” Jones said. “They’ve been talking to me and getting me ready. They’ve definitely been preparing me since shoot around today.”

The Oklahoma City lead jumped to 27 points midway through the second quarter.

The Thunder had 10 players score at least four points in the first half.

But it was Durant’s driving layup right before the end of the half that gave the Thunder their biggest first-half scoring output this season. Oklahoma City led 73-56 at halftime.

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