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Magic Vs Thunder LIVE UPDATES: Kevin Durant And Dwight Howard Battle On Christmas

Thunder Magic Kevin Durant

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 12/25/11 08:08 PM ET Updated: 12/25/11 08:08 PM ET

Location, location, location.

The Oklahoma City Thunder are the model small market franchise. Having already quietly signed scoring champ Kevin Durant to an extension while other superstars have been bemoaning their own surroundings, the Thunder are widely considered the "next" team in the West. Unless, of course, Chris Paul's Clippers have anything to say about that.

In the East, the Magic are at the other end of the small -- really a mid-market, actually -- market spectrum, having a high wattage star looking for a brighter stage. Dwight Howard has eyes for Los Angeles and Brooklyn, but will open the season with Orlando. Will he bring his A-game even if he isn't playing for his first-choice team?

The fourth game in the NBA's Christmas spectacular, Thunder vs. Magic features two of the game's most compelling young stars even if it's not taking place in one of the game's most compelling locales. Well, this game actually contains three of the game's best young stars. Please don't tell Russell Westbrook that we left him out initially. He seems like a guy that would take that slight personally.

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@ LukeRussert : Kevin Durant is such a great guy. I've never seen a #NBA guy sign an autograph walking off the court after a game. He makes #DC proud.

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@ netw3rk : KD just making sons around the world look bad now.

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OKC: 97

ORL: 89

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As Von Wafer shoots some meaningless free throws, Durant has a quick kiss for mom sitting courtside.

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And Durant slices to rack for two points. It's a 10 point lead with less than 20 seconds left.

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Fans called into action unexpectedly. Shot clock dwindles, Nelson's prayer bounces out to OKC. That should do it.

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Durant misses a pair of free throws and then Anderson hits another three, from corner. It's an 8-point gamei with 1:01 to play.

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@ OMagicDaily : Von Wafer can create his own shot... Very nice work from him late in this one.

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Magic again creeped within striking distance but Durant nails a three to push game out of reach again. There was a window for Magic here but they couldn't get their act together on offense and eventually Thunder get their groove back. Stella, as well.

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@ GetBangedOn : OK. This game is done. We need to watch the Clippers now. #wrapthatshitupB

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@ damienwoody : Why am I watching this Thunder game!!! Zzzzzzzz......

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@ JerryZgoda : Would have been better for Wolves if OKC won emotional nail-biter, but blowout over Magic tonite is better than loss and angry team manana

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Another three and he's putting in a night's work for Orlando. It's 12-point game.

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Thunder lead comfortably with less than five minutes to play. They've played fast and loose. Magic have struggled shooting for most of the night and seem unable to feed Howard in spots he can exploit his defender before he is swarmed.

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@ ByTimReynolds : Heat became the first road team since at least 1996 to lead a @NBA Christmas game wire-to-wire. (Looking for p-b-p of Lakers-Suns in '96.)

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Harden tries to go end to end. His miss is tipped in by Westbrook. These guys are running because they can, because it's easy (against Magic) and because it's fun. This is a loose playground game for Thunder.

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Perhaps the only player for Orlando with any fire (or any consistent shot) hits two quick buckets to get OKC lead under 20 again. Home timeout.

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Cook hits a three and it's 85-63. Orlando colder than the spare guest room at Santa's place.

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@ ArianFoster : Mr Howard, There is nothing for you in Orlando, come to LA.

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Another miss from Jason Richardson and that's where he's at right now.

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The Thunder have made this game so thoroughly uncompetitive that our announcers have shifted from praising OKC players to the front office.

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Cook intercepts a cross-court pass as the Thunder's reserves continue to contribute. In other news, Magic still waiting for certain starters -- cough Jason Richardson cough -- to do so.

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OKC: 81

ORL: 63

With this game not doing anything special for anyone outside the cozy confines of Oklahoma City, perhaps we'll get an exciting West Coast finale to the NBA's opening day.

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Harden continues his stellar third quarter with another bucket.

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And, just like, that the bearded one gives the fans something to cheer bout and pushes lead back up on the way to 20. Thunder can afford to muddle ahead as is with this lead.

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Magic whistled for three seconds, Howard with a few more "C'mon man" utterances for refs. Game is out of sorts. Not a lot of urgency or rhythm on either side.

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Nazr shoves Dwight, who gives us a "c'mon man." Tech for Nazr.

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Welcome Back NBA? Clark missed put back dunk after Howard was again swarmed on a close-range shot. At the other end, Durant was swallowed up by Big Baby. He's shooting. Hitting.

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Without Nelson or Hedo on floor, Magic running some sort of set offense, with Reddick and Clark moving on wings. Reddick wildly drives into paint and is bailed out by foul.

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@ BlkSportsOnline : Dwight doesn't looking happy or interested.

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