Durant: "Let The Big Dogs Be Big Dogs"
By Randy Renner
Thunder superstar Kevin Durant probably said it best after a heart pounding, come from way behind 139-136 double-overtime OKC win in Orlando Friday night.
"Sometimes you have to let the big dogs be big dogs," he told reporters after the game.
Amen to that.
Durant and his superstar teammate Russell Westbrook refused to lose a game they appeared destined to come up short in from the jump.
Orlando dominated the start of the contest shooting an astonishing 68.2 percent in the first quarter and just kept on pushing the Thunder toward the door.
The Magic finished the first half with 67 points on 61.7 percent shooting while holding the Thunder to 53 points on just less than 41 percent shooting.
Oklahoma City came out in the second half and played some defense but still couldn't get shots to fall and trailed 93-75 going into the fourth quarter.
The Thunder made some runs but Orlando always seemed to have an answer and with 3:11 left to play OKC still trailed by 10.
After that the "big dogs" became killer canines.
Durant and Westbrook took over, with Russ driving into the lane getting layups and Durant dropping 3-bombs on the Magic.
A game that ended up lasting 58 minutes really came down to a 13 second sequence at the end of regulation.
KD drained a three after a Billy Donovan timeout, a pindown from Steven Adams and a great pass from Dion Waiters.
That shot ended an 18 point comeback and tied the game with those 13 second left on the clock. The Magic didn't want to let this one get away either and guard Victor Oladipo nailed a stepback 3-pointer that appeared to be a dagger with just :03.7 showing on the clock and the Magic crowd roaring.
But Westbrook who had already scored 10 points on 4-for-4 shooting in the fourth quarter, took the inbounds pass, raced across half court and sent up a prayer from 38 feet.
And the bank was open.
And the prayer was answered.
Tie game, 114-114. Overtime.
"I would tell you I practice that shot everyday," Westbrook said with a smile in the lockerroom, "But I don't. I'm lucky it went in."
From there the Thunder felt pretty good about being able to push through and finally get the win but Oladipo still had some magic left in his game drilling another 3-pointer at the end of the first overtime despite Andre Roberson hounding him in the corner.
In the second overtime it was Adams draining a couple of pressure packed free throws with :09.3 second left giving OKC a three point lead and then Durant blocked not one but two shots as time expired to seal the win.
Westbrook ended up with 48 points and Durant had 43. It's the third time in their careers the two superstars had more than 40 points in the same game. No other NBA duo has ever had more than one such game.
There were of course some obvious problems, lack of defense early on and continuing issues with turnovers.
But bottom line the Thunder are 2-0 and their two superstars lead the NBA in scoring Westbrook averaging 40.5 points a game and Durant at 32.5.
And perhaps most important of all, after playing almost 54 of the game's 58 minutes in just his second game back after three surgeries on his right foot, KD said he had no issues.
"This game helped me a lot," he said. "Playing a fourth quarter game, a double OT game, just getting me used to that it felt great."