Thunder (50-19, 20-14 road) at Magic (18-51, 10-25 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 112.5 (1st), Magic– 102.1 (25th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 102.9 (8th), Magic – 109.3 (26th)
Pace: Thunder – 93.8 (8th), Magic – 91.9 (15th)
View from the enemy: Magic Basketball
Kevin Durant says this is a “must-win” game. That’s obviously a bit extreme, but here’s why I think he said it: He’s trying to instill a little sense of urgency in his team. He’s noticed them coasting, noticed them slipping in key situations. The focus is inconsistent throughout the 48 minutes and they’re taking things for granted.
An in reality, it sort of is must-win, because the alternative will cause mass hysteria. I think the Thunder feel the angst and concern too. And dropping a third straight game, especially against the lowly Magic, would fire up a lot of freaking out.
Beating the Magic won’t prove anything, but losing might. If that makes sense. And really, it’s about finding that standard of performance again. Besides, the Thunder can’t beat the Spurs or the Grizzlies or the Nuggets or the Heat tonight. They can only beat the Magic. And that’s the mission. Beat the team in front of you and hopefully, play well doing it.
Honestly, just read Dan Devine’s take on the whole “must-win” thing. He explains it pretty well.
Orlando coming in: Lost to the Knicks on Wednesday.
Three Big Things
2. Don’t lose.
3. Score more points than Orlando.
Tip at 6:00 CT. Go Must-Win.