ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – Russell Westbrook picked the right time to have his best game of the season. In a game where the Orlando Magic led by as many as 21 points, Westbrook decided in the second half and overtime to put his stamp on the game and the NBA’s MVP award. Westbrook scored 26 of his season-high 57 points from the eight-minute mark of the 4th quarter and overtime to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 114-106 victory over the Magic.
In the 4th quarter, with his team down by 14 with 6:18 to play, Westbrook put his team on his shoulder and took apart the Magic’s defense with his drives to the basket and shot making from all over the court. He scored 19 points during that time including hitting a 3-pointer from 31 feet away from the basket to send the game into overtime.
“No, I didn’t know. I couldn’t see right away because two people jumped.” – Russell Westbrook on his game-tying 3-point shot.
Westbrook went 21 of 40 from the floor and hit 6 three pointers as the Thunder kept pace with the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Clippers in the race for the Western Conference’s 4th seed in the playoffs. Westbrook also collected his 38th triple-double of the season as he had 13 rebounds and 11 assists in the game as well.
“One of the best. It’s tough to rank those over the years but obviously it’s right up there with the best of them, give him credit. I was proud of how our guys played. I thought we played really, really hard and really, really well most of the night and he’s a tough guy to stop when his back’s against the wall and he’s going to come down every single time being in attack mode and try to win a game for his team, that’s why he’s an MVP candidate.” -Magic Head Coach Frank Vogel on Russell Westbrook’s performance
After trailing 20-18 at the end of the first quarter, Orlando’s 2nd unit put on a show to give the Magic the lead at the half. Led by Bismack Biyombo’s 10 points and 8 rebounds in the quarter, Orlando’s reserves scored 20 of their 31 points in the period. Biyombo, who is not known for his offense, scored in a variety of ways in the paint as he went perfect in the 12 minutes he played. He also blocked 2 shots and was the main reason the Thunder shot 45% from the field in the quarter.
Westbrook’s performance overshadowed Victor Oladipo’s return to Orlando. He scored 13 points as he shot 5 for 17 from the floor. He contributed 5 rebounds for the Thunder as well.
Orlando was lead by Evan Fournier, who had 24 points and 6 rebounds. Terrance Ross had 23 points and hit 5 of his 11 attempted 3-pointers.
Orlando will be on the road for the next three games as the WWE takes over Amway Center starting on Friday and Magic will go on its Wrestlemania road trip. They will play three games over a four day period (Boston, Brooklyn and Cleveland) and return back to Orlando to play the same Brooklyn Nets team on Thursday, April 6th at 7pm.
Points of Interest:
- Nikola Vucevic had 16 rebounds to go along with 11 points for the Magic. He scored 9 of those points after the third quarter.
- Enes Kanter had 17 points and 10 rebounds in 20 minutes for the Thunder
- Biyombo finished the game with a double-double as well, 12 points and 11 rebounds.