Durant's big 4th equals OKC's 7th

Posted: March 02, 2012

DURING HIS All-Star Game MVP performance last week, Kevin Durant made Orlando's Amway Center his personal playground, scoring at will with a barrage of jump shots and easy open-floor baskets.

The rims weren't quite as kind early on during the Oklahoma City forward's return trip, but he got reacquainted with them late and also got help from fellow All-Star Russell Westbrook to help the Thunder pull out a 105-102 victory over the Orlando Magic last night.

Durant scored 38 points, including 18 in the fourth quarter, and Westbrook added 29 points and 10 assists as Oklahoma City erased a 14-point deficit to battle back for the win.

Durant's effort was two points better than his All-Star night and also included five three-pointers and a 9-for-9 night at the free-throw line - all in a game-high 42 minutes of action. The Thunder's win was its seventh straight, matching a streak from earlier in the season.

"I was so down on myself. I was really going down after the first quarter," Durant said. "But my coaches and my teammates continued to encourage me and told me they believed in me. It just clicked for me and I started to make a few shots and free throws.

"Once your teammates give you that confidence, no matter what you feel good, and I was able to make some shots."

The Magic had a chance to send it to overtime in the final seconds, but Jason Richardson's long three-pointer bounced off the backboard at the buzzer.

It was a fitting culmination of a final 12 minutes for the Magic in which it went just 8-for-25 from the field. The Thunder, which struggled to find shots in the first half, finished 10-for-15 in the final period.

Dwight Howard scored 33 points and grabbed nine rebounds, but the Magic dropped to 0-2 against the Thunder this season.

Howard said there wasn't one singular deficiency from his perspective. "It's both ends," he said. "We have to be able to execute and get stops. That's the one thing we didn't do well tonight in the fourth quarter. But it's a good lesson for us."

In other games:

* At Phoenix, Grant Hill scored 15 of his season-high 20 points in the second half and the Suns pulled away to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves, 104-95. Steve Nash had 13 points and matched his season high with 17 assists.

* At Sacramento, Chris Paul had 22 points and nine assists and Mo Williams added 18 points off the bench in the Clippers' 108-100 win over the Kings.

Noteworthy * 

Kobe Bryant sat out Lakers practice, recovering from the concussion, nasal fracture and whiplash suffered in the All-Star Game. Bryant used the practice time to receive treatment on his neck. He reported feeling "constant throbbing at the base of my head" after Wednesday's win over Minnesota. He is expected play tonight at home against the Sacramento Kings.

* Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh is not with the team because of a death in his family.

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