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Saturday, March 3, 2012
Durant's 38 spark Thunder to seventh straight victory
ORLANDO, Florida — Kevin Durant scored 38 points, including 18 in the fourth quarter, and Russell Westbrook added 29 points and 10 rebounds as the Oklahoma City Thunder erased a 14-point deficit to hold on to beat the Orlando Magic 105-102 on Thursday night.
Orlando had a chance to tie it in the final seconds, but Jason Richardson's long 3-pointer bounced off the backboard at the buzzer.
Oklahoma City's win was its seventh straight, matching a streak from earlier in the season.
Dwight Howard scored 33 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead all five Magic starters in double figures, but they struggled to shoot from the field down the stretch.
Orlando dropped to 0-2 against the Thunder this season, following their season-opening loss at Oklahoma City on Christmas night.
After struggling to keep up with the Thunder during a season-opening loss at Oklahoma City, Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said they would need to limit the Thunder's opportunities around the rim as well as their free-throw attempts to compete in the rematch.
Orlando did a decent job at both in the first half, limiting Oklahoma City, which entered the game leading the NBA with 960 free-throw attempts, to just seven attempts at the half.
But the Thunder found their way to the stripe in the second half and finished at their season average of 27 attempts.
Orlando took an 11-point lead into the fourth quarter before turnovers and multiple empty offensive possessions allowed the Thunder to surge to a 93-89 lead with 3:22 to play.
Suns 104, Timberwolves 95
In Phoenix, Grant Hill scored 15 of his season-high 20 points in the second half and the Suns pulled away to beat weary Minnesota.
Steve Nash had 13 points and matched his season high with 17 assists. Marcin Gortat scored 17 for Phoenix in its ninth straight victory over the Timberwolves.
Kevin Love, who sat out the Timberwolves' 104-85 loss to the Lakers in Los Angeles on Wednesday night because of flulike symptoms, scored 23 on 8-of-25 shooting.
Heat 107, Trail Blazers 93
In Portland, LeBron James had 38 points and 11 rebounds and Miami resumed its season with a rout of the the Blazers, extending its winning streak to nine games.
Dwyane Wade added 33 points and 10 assists for the Heat, who at 28-7 are off to their best 35-game start in franchise history.
Miami was without All-Star Chris Bosh because of a death in his family.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 20 points for Portland.
Clippers 108, Kings 100
In Sacramento, Chris Paul had 22 points and nine assists, Blake Griffin added 14 points and nine rebounds and Los Angeles cruised past Sacramento.
DeMarcus Cousins had 23 points and 10 rebounds and Tyreke Evans scored 18 points for the Kings, who had won two straight.