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Harris' late dunk gives Magic dramatic win over Thunder

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The Canadian Press
2/7/2014 9:57:23 PM
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- The Orlando Magic have seen much more misery than celebration this season.

But with one of the NBA's best teams and its top scorer in town, the Magic made the most of a rare opportunity to enjoy the latter.

Tobias Harris slammed home a fast-break pass from Maurice Harkless at the buzzer to give the Orlando Magic a 103-102 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night.

With the Thunder leading 102-101 in the closing seconds, Kevin Durant missed a jumper to set up the last-second play, which was reviewed by officials and upheld.

Rookie Victor Oladipo, who had grabbed the rebound on Durant's miss with 2.9 seconds left and passed ahead to Harkless to start the break, pounded his chest after the play and screamed "This is our floor!" as the crowd roared.

"I saw Victor get the (rebound) and I just wanted to be down there, whether or not he shot a layup or if he made it, congratulate him, to get a tip-in -- anything," Harris said. "But he kicked it to Mo and I just kept running. Mo saw me and my whole momentum was just to get it in the rim."

Harris led the Magic with 18 points, followed by Arron Afflalo with 16. Orlando's bench outscored the Oklahoma City's 36-23.

The win gives the Magic their first four-game home winning streak in two years. It also snaps the Thunder's five-game winning streak in the series.

"I was drawing up our defensive strategy unless they had point-something left on the clock," Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said. "But we'll take it."

Durant led the Thunder with 29 points and 12 assists. Serge Ibaka added 26 points.

The loss was just the second in 14 games for Oklahoma City. Durant's points and assists accounted for half of his team's points in the first half. But he scored just 12 points on 5-for-13 shooting in the second half. He was 1 for 7 in the fourth.

"We couldn't do anything (in the second half). We were just a step slow," Durant said. "We kept running the same plays. We didn't help on the back side. We let guys cut to basket. ... There were just mental breakdowns."

The Magic made eight of their first 11 shots to start the third quarter and trailed by eight entering the fourth.

Vaughn said before the game that the matchup would turn on whether the Magic's second unit could outplay the Thunder's bench. His prediction came true.

Without their starters on the floor, the Magic kept their third-quarter momentum going by scoring the first eight points of the final period to cut the Thunder's lead and tie it at 88-all with just over 9 minutes to play.

Durant was re-inserted into the game and promptly put his team back in front with a jumper from the wing.

The Magic kept coming, though, and took their first lead, 91-90, on a pair of free throws by Harris at the 7:59 mark.

The game stayed tight and was tied at 99 when Durant came down on the break and found Thabo Sefolosha in the corner for a 3-pointer with 1:56 left.

Glen Davis drew an offensive foul and on the ensuing possession Afflalo was fouled on a 3-point attempt with less than a minute to play. He hit two of his three attempts to trim the gap to 102-101 and set up the final sequence.

The Thunder hovered above 70 per cent shooting early on and led by as many as 17 points in the first half.

The Magic hung around, shooting 52 per cent themselves for the half. But they couldn't match Oklahoma City's 8-for-12 shooting from 3. The Thunder also had 17 assists.

But the Magic held them to just 37 points in the second half.

"We came in at halftime and watched the film and talked about how we could help ourselves," Vaughn said. "There were numerous possessions in the first half where we could have been in better places ... and we did that in the second half and that was the difference."

NOTES: The Magic honoured former players Sam Vincent and Jeff Turner, along with former team executive John Gabriel as part of their 25th anniversary season celebration. ... Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Darrelle Revis sat courtside Friday. Model Kate Upton also was in attendance, sitting on the baseline alongside Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander. ... A Magic season-ticket holder won $10,000 during a timeout promotion by hitting a free throw, layup and 3-pointer within 24 seconds.

Harris shoots vs Thunder (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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