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News » ORLANDO 108, THUNDER 94


ORLANDO 108, THUNDER 94ORLANDO - If you told coach Scott Brooks before the season that the Thunder would go 3-3 over a six-game, nine-day, road-heavy gauntlet, he probably would have been happy.

The only problem is the finale - 108-94 loss to the Magic on Wednesday - was the Thunder's worst performance all season. And it came at the end of a grueling stretch of games.

Playing role reversal, the Magic on Wednesday night at Amway Arena, looked a lot like the Thunder did 10 days ago in the Ford Center.

The score was so lopsided that neither coach played their starters in the fourth quarter in what turned into a glorified preseason game. Fresh off Tuesday night's big win in Miami, the Thunder was manhandled from the start.

"I don't want to blame it on (playing back-to-back games)" said Thunder star Kevin Durant, who scored a season-low 12 points. "They came out with a lot of energy, and we didn't. They executed and capitalized on that. You have to tip your hat off to a great team. You can't guard them. It was a tough game for us."

The Thunder was playing its third back-to-back in a nine-day span. It started with a West Coast trip to Sacramento and Los Angeles followed by a Southwest back-to-backer in San Antonio/Oklahoma City. The back-to-back theme concluded with a double-dip in Florida.

"That's not an excuse," Brooks said. "We just didn't play well. Bottom line is they outplayed us. They're a very talented team. They were making their shots. We were a step slow. The ball was a little sticky tonight."

It's unusual how the Thunder is 3-3 on its See America trip that still isn't quite finished.

Oklahoma City lost to Sacramento but beat the L.A. Clippers on the West Coast.

The Thunder stunned the Spurs in San Antonio but lost the rematch to the Clippers, the only home game of the six.

On Tuesday, the Thunder dominated Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat - but 24 hours later was never in the game against the Magic.

"One thing we need to work on is being consistent," Brooks said. "Tonight, we didn't have it. They played good Basketball. Give them a lot of credit. That's one of the best teams we'll play all year. We had a big win (Tuesday) night, but we have to be able to come out and play with the same effort."

Over in the other locker room, Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy was preaching the same message.

Wednesday night, his team looked good because the Magic was 13-of-31 on 3-pointers and shot 55.8 percent during the first half. Six Magic players scored in double figures.

Similar to the Thunder's 28-point win over Orlando earlier this month, the Magic was up by 15 points midway through the second quarter. Orlando pushed the lead to 30 late in the third quarter.

"We had a lot of guys play well and a lot of guys play with real good energy," Van Gundy said. "That's the No. 1 thing. That's what I told them we're looking for. Some nights the ball may not go in. What we need is consistent energy."

One of the more difficult portions of the Thunder's schedule isn't quite done. After hosting the Washington Wizards on Friday night, the Thunder plays Sunday night against the Lakers in Los Angeles, then faces Utah on Tuesday before returning home for a five-game homestand.

"You can't give in to the schedule," Brooks said. "Every team has 82 games, and you have to deal with what the schedule says. We didn't play well, and it had nothing to do with the schedule. Are we disappointed? Yes. But we have an opportunity to bounce back tomorrow."

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Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 21, 2009


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