Thunder vs Magic Game a Potential 2012 NBA Finals Preview
Although, Dwight Howard has clearly expressed his desire to be traded, one has to believe that the (23-13) Orlando Magic are a legitimate championship contender with him onboard. But by the looks of it, it appears that the organization has other plans for the big man, as they’re doing the best they can to keep Superman in the Magic City.
A team with no such trade-problems is the (28-7) Oklahoma City Thunder, who began this season as one of the odds favorites to win the Larry O’Brien trophy. Could we be seeing a preview of this year’s 2012 NBA Finals when they meet tonight at Amway Center in Downtown, Orlando?
But this game will have a lot more steam behind it than just a potential Finals preview, as OKC is still looking for its first victory in North Florida since 2008 — the days as the Seattle Supersonics. The Thunder will be playing the second game of a back-to-back tonight, after defeating the Sixers, 92-88 last night.
The All-Star duo of Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant carried the load offensively for OKC, combining to score 45 of their team’s point-total. As usual, James Harden made his presence felt, coming off the bench to score 16 points of his own to go with his 8 rebounds and his 4 assists. Keeping Philly under 90 points, the one thing OKC coach Scott Brooks liked the most was the way his guys played “D”.
“We defend. That’s one thing we are consistent with. We just have to keep doing it,” he said. “But they defend, too. That’s why this is such a great win. Because that team over there is one of the best defensive teams in the league.”
For Orlando, this will be its second game after an All-Star break filled with questions about potential Howard-trades. Although the Magic were able to win their first game back, Howard looked a bit disinterested, taking just 9 shots all game long. The 6-time All-Star finished with 14 points, 12 rebounds and four turnovers as the Magic defeated Washington, 102-95.
“That’s what we do – we can really stretch the court and obviously when we have Dwight (Howard) get double-teamed and attract so much attention, that really leaves us open,” said Ryan Anderson.