Lewis helps Magic win third straight, beat Thunder

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Rashard Lewis thinks he had a triple-double sometime in his basketball career, so he wasn't all that concerned that he didn't get a chance to post another one.

Lewis sat out the entire fourth quarter of the Orlando Magic's 108-94 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night, finishing with 17 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists in his second game back after missing the first 10 games of the season for violating the league's substance abuse policy.

"I think I had a triple-double back in high school and I'm quite sure I'm going to get another one sometime, but the big thing is we won the game," Lewis said. "We've got four scorers out there all the time, so if you pass it to anybody, you can get enough assists."

His teammates encouraged Magic coach Stan Van Gundy to put Lewis back in the game in the fourth quarter to get the last assist, but Van Gundy resisted. The Magic coach has had to do a lot of juggling because of Lewis' suspension and a number of early season injuries, including one that took point guard Jameer Nelson out of the lineup.

Nelson had arthroscopic surgery to repair torn meniscus in his left knee Wednesday. He is expected to miss four to six weeks.

"Maybe I should have put Rashard back in there, but I don't think in terms of individual awards or accomplishments," Van Gundy said. "We're on our eighth starting lineup and that's more than I used all of last season. I'm more worried about my guys giving a consistent effort every night and we certainly got that tonight."

Oklahoma City rookie James Harden came off the bench to score 24 points, going 6 of 7 on 3-point attempts. It was the first time this season that Harden, the third pick in last June's draft, has scored in double figures.

"It's definitely encouraging," Harden said. "I've been putting in some extra work to make sure my mechanics are right and I'm not second guessing myself. I got some shots to fall and I got some confidence from that."

Harden's performance was about the only highlight for the visitors. The Thunder trailed by 18 at halftime and were down 88-58 at the end of the third period. They did slice the 30-point deficit to 14 in the final minute, but that was as close as they got.

"Obviously I don't like the way we played tonight, but that's part of what we're going to have to work through as a team," Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said. "We didn't have it and they just outplayed us. That's the bottom line."

Vince Carter scored 18 points and Dwight Howard had 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Magic, who put six players in double figures and won their third straight game.

Harden didn't get much help from the Oklahoma City starters, who were a combined 14 of 45 (31 percent) from the field. Kevin Durant had 12 points, and Jeff Green and Kyle Weaver 11 apiece for the Thunder.

The Magic didn't seem to miss Nelson, hitting five of their first six shots and scoring 28 points in the first quarter with Jason Williams making his first start of the season at point guard.

Anthony Johnson, who has played only mop-up minutes this season, took over in the second period and kept the offense humming. The 13-year pro, who had scored only four points all season, hit his first two shots and passed out two assists as the Magic expanded their lead to 20 points. Carter's second 3-pointer of the half made it 53-33 with 5:28 left.

Oklahoma City, which shot 57 percent in a 102-74 rout of Orlando two weeks ago, couldn't find a rhythm in the rematch. Durant shot only 3 of 7 in the first half and the Thunder made 41 percent as a team.

Harden had 12 points in the second period, including a pair of 3-pointers, but the Thunder still trailed 61-43 at halftime.

Orlando stated the third quarter with a 10-1 run to push its lead to 27 points. Howard finished off the run with a thundering dunk and the rout was on. Oklahoma City never got closer than 15 the rest of the game.

Game notes
Kansas City Royals pitcher Zach Greinke was in the audience a day after winning the American League Cy Young Award. Greinke is from Apopka, a suburb of Orlando. Magic F Matt Barnes, who started seven games and played in all 11, didn't see action until the fourth quarter. Durant was averaging 32.8 points and shooting 47 percent in his last five games. The Magic are 5-0 this season when scoring 100 or more points. Oklahoma City was 3-0 this season against Eastern Conference teams before losing to the Magic.

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