By Jerry Feitelberg
Oakland- The Warriors won another thriller Monday night against the rapidly, improving Orlando Magic Monday night at Oracle Arena by a score of 116-110. The Magic beat the Lakers in Los Angeles Sunday afternoon and had to play Monday night again. The Magic have turned their program around this season under head coach Steve Clifford. Orlando had struggled the last few years, but they have beaten some pretty good teams so far this year. They have knocked off Boston, Philadelphia, San Antonio, and the Lakers twice so far. They entered the game with a record of 10-10. The Warriors were without Steph Curry for the 10th straight game. Draymond Green was thought to be available, but he did not play. Alfonzo McKinnie also did not play.
The Warriors’ Klay Thompson started the game with a three-pointer. The Magic countered with a bucket to make it 3-2 early in the first quarter. The Magic opened up a 9-point lead 16-7 before the Warriors went on a 9-2 run to close the gap to 18-16. Orlando led 25-18, but the Warriors finished the quarter with an 8-0 run to lead 26-25 after 12 minutes of play.
The second period was another story. Orlando outplayed the Warriors the entire second period. They made 3-point shots. They played defense and won the second quarter 33-14 to finish the first half leading by 17 64-47. Kevin Durant led the Warriors with 20, and Klay Thompson had 10. Damion Lee was the only Warrior with more than two points. Six players, Kevon Looney, Jordan Bell, Damian Jones, Quinn Cook, Shaun Livingston, and Andre Iguodala each had two points in the first half. The Magic’s big center Nikola Vukcevic knocked down 17 and Terrence Ross, coming off the bench, had 16. Evan Fournier had 9, and D.J.Augustin pitched in with 8.
The Warriors had to go back to the drawing board during the halftime intermission. Head coach Steve Kerr had to figure out a way to get his players to start scoring and be able to stop the hot Orlando team on offense. It was not going to be easy as Orlando, having won a close game in Los Angeles on Sunday, did not wilt. They answered everything the Warriors threw at them. The Warriors increased the intensity on defense, and they started to chip away at the 18-point deficit. Kevin Durant was on fire as he scored 16 points in the third quarter. He also showed the Magic how good he could play defense as he blocked a shot with about five minutes left in the quarter and the momentum started to shift to the Warriors. They outscored the Magic 32-19 and finished the quarter trailing by just four points 83-79. The fans at Oracle Arena were on their feet as the Warriors clawed their way back into the contest.
With Durant resting on the bench, Klay Thompson took over the offense. Klay made two three-pointers in a row to get within three 88-85. The Magic fought back and increased the lead to seven. They could not get closer than three as the Magic led 100-97. Kevon Looney came through with a big bucket, and Klay hit another three to give the Warriors the advantage 102-100. The Magic fought back and tied the game at 107 with one minute and forty-four seconds left to play. Durant made a layup and Orlando fouled him on the play. He converted the free throw, and The Warriors led again 110-107. Orland countered with a bucket. Durant made a three-pointer to make 113- 109. The Warriors fouled Nikola Vucevic but he missed a free throw and all the Warriors needed to win was one-point. Shaun Livingston made the free throw to put the game out of reach, and the Warriors added two more points to win 116-110. The Warriors won the second half 69-46 to win by six. What a game. The fans went home very happy and many of them had to have sore throats as they were cheering very loudly.
Game notes and stats- Kevin Durant finished the night with a season-high 49 points. Klay Thompson finished with 29. Klay made five 3-point shots in the fourth quarter and six total for the night. No other Warrior scored in double-figures. Quinn Cook was third in scoring with eight and that included two treys. While they didn’t score a lot, Kevon Looney, Jordan Bell, Andre Iguodala, Jonas Jerebko, and Damian Jones all performed well on defense as they held the Magic to just 46 points in the second half.
Nikola Vucevic led the Magic with 30 points and 12 rebounds. Terrence Ross finished with 28, and he made four threes. Jonathan Simmons, Jonathan Isaac, and Mo Bomba, not known for shooting threes, knocked down 7 in 8 attempts.
The Warriors improve to 15-7, and the MAgic falls to 10-11. The Warriors begin the most extended road trip of the season starting Thursday night in Toronto. Game time will be at 5 pm. They then go to Detroit, Atlanta, Cleveland, and finish the trip in Milwaukee.