Oklahoma City Thunder hold off Orlando Magic in double overtime thriller
Westbrook and former NBA Most Valuable Player Durant combined to score nine of Oklahoma city’s 13 points in the second overtime to seal the win in Orlando.
“Sometimes, you just have to let the big dogs run,” said Durant, who missed 55 games last season with ankle and foot injuries. “That was fun out there tonight. Russell was almost super-human.”
In a roller-coaster of a contest, the Oklahoma City Thunder had erased an 18-point deficit in the fourth quarter, then led through most of both overtimes.
Westbrook banked in a 38-foot desperation shot with 0.7 seconds left in regulation to force the first extra period with the score tied at 117-117 — after Orlando guard Victor Oladipo connected on a three-pointer with 3.9 seconds to play that made it 117-114 for Orlando Magic.
Durant had knotted the score at 114-114 with a three-pointer after the Magic had led the entire game and opened the fourth quarter with an 18-point lead.
In the first overtime Oladipo — who had a triple-double of 21 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists — sank a game-tying three-pointer as time expired to force the second extra session.
The Magic came up empty on two attempts to tie the score in the waning seconds of the second overtime, when Durant blocked three-point attempts by Evan Fournier and Oladipo.
Although the Thunder were hurt by 21 turnovers in regulation, Westbrook and Durant wouldn’t be denied.
Westbrook added 11 rebounds and eight assists and Durant finished with 12 rebounds.
Serge Ibaka had eight points and 12 rebounds for the Thunder and reserve forward Enes Kanter had 10 points, including nine in the final period when he sparked a late Thunder rally.
Forward Tobias Harris led the Magic with 30 points. Center Nikola Vucevic contributed 26 and Fournier scored 22.
But Orlando coach Scott Skiles said his young team didn’t stay poised in the toughest moments.
“When it got tight, you could see Russell starting to pick it up,” Skiles said. “And we had trouble even handling the ball. We just got away from what we were doing. We played well enough to win this game, but when it’s time to make big plays, we didn’t make them.”
Pistons top Bulls in OT
The Detroit Pistons also worked overtime to remain unbeaten in the young season with a 98-94 victory over the Chicago Bulls.
The Pistons are 3-0 for the first time since the 2008-09 campaign, when they started 4-0.
They are shooting just 38.7 percent in their three wins, but are coming up big defensively.
Marcus Morris scored 26 points and Andre Drummond added 20 points and 20 rebounds for the Pistons while point guard Reggie Jackson — who recorded his 1,000th career assist in the third quarter — chipped in 22 points and seven assists.
The Pistons scored on their first three possessions of overtime. Morris drained a jump shot, Jackson drove for a layup and reserve forward Anthony Tolliver sank a three-pointer to make it 90-83.
Chicago shooting guard Jimmy Butler made a three-pointer to cut Detroit’s lead to 96-92 but Chicago couldn’t pull any closer.
Butler finished with 23 points and 11 rebounds and power forward Nikola Mirotic had 22 points for the Bulls, who committed 20 turnovers that led to 21 points for the Pistons.
Love in the air
In Cleveland, the Cavaliers were feeling the love — specifically 24 points and 14 rebounds from Kevin Love — in a 102-92 victory over the Miami Heat.
Love’s back-to-back three-pointers late in the third quarter gave the Cavs some room after the Heat had trimmed the deficit to three points.
Cavs superstar LeBron James added 29 points in the win over his former team, but afterwards praised Love, who has recorded double-doubles in his last two games.
“He showed why he’s one of the best power forwards in our league,” James said. “We need to continue to ride his coat-tails.”
Warriors rule Rockets
Stephen Curry scored 25 points in 28 minutes to lead the NBA champion Golden State Warriors to a 112-92 victory over the Houston Rockets in a rematch of last season’s Western Conference Finals.
The triumph continued the Warriors’ dominance over the Rockets as Golden State claimed their sixth straight win in Houston and improved to 10-1 in their last 11 meetings with the Rockets.