Staring at a potential 10-game losing streak, something had to change for Orlando when they faced the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night. The Magic were 8-4 before ripping off nine straight losses in a row and knew a win against the Thunder would prove huge in snapping the skid.
Orlando was able to finally end the drought and also got a big game from one of its stars in the process. Magic forward Aaron Gordon recorded his second 40-plus point game of the season, as Orlando thumped Oklahoma City 121-108 at Amway Center. The Magic improve to 9-13, while the Thunder fall to 8-12, in what has been a very disappointing season after acquiring both Paul George and Carmelo Anthony during the off-season.
“I think that’s what was special about his night, he wasn’t out there trying to play superhero,” coach Frank Vogel said about Gordon’s big night. ”He played within himself for the most part, and as a result he shot a high percentage.”
For Gordon, the forward took high percentage shots and that showed in the statistics. Gordon, who also collected 15 rebounds, connected on 13-of-23 shooting and was 57 percent from the field.
Vogel made a lineup change late in the losing streak, moving Terrance Ross to the bench and elevating Jonathan Simmons into a starting role. The move may have not been the deciding factor in the game, but Simmons played defense on both George and Anthony, whom combined to hit on 12-of-33 shots.
Oklahoma City got another big game from its floor general Russell Westbrook, who scored 37 points and snatched 11 rebounds while hitting on 7-of-10 from 3-point land. Westbrook’s efforts would not be enough, however, as the Thunder have quickly fallen out of favor in a tough Western Conference.
Orlando takes the floor again on Friday night when they face the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors (16-6). Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. at the Amway Center.