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Durant scores 30 and Thunder beat Magic in opener
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) ' Kevin Durant scored 30 points to help the Oklahoma City Thunder win their season opener with a 97-89 victory over the Orlando Magic on Sunday night.
Durant led the league in scoring the past two seasons, including averaging 27.7 last season. On Sunday, he was 11-of-19 from the field and added five rebounds and six assists.
James Harden added 19 points and the Thunder held Orlando star Dwight Howard to just 11 points.
The Thunder lost to Dallas last year in the Western Conference finals but are expected to one of the top teams this season. They led throughout, including by 18 at the end of the third quarter and really were never in danger of losing. Meanwhile, the Magic looked like a team that was still dealing with the distraction of Howard and his trade demands, which dominated headlines in Orlando since the lockout ended.
NBA commissioner David Stern weighed in on the Howard situation Sunday, saying before the game, "That's the beauty of the soap opera. How it plays out, we'll wait and see."
Oklahoma City center Kendrick Perkins did a good job on Howard. The Magic's star center averaged more than 22 points per game last year, shooting 59 percent for the season.
He did have 15 rebounds.
A 13-2 run in the second quarter, after Durant and Russell Westbrook checked back in, helped the Thunder get out to a 17-point lead. They led 55-41 at the break. Durant had 14 points in the first half.
Ryan Anderson scored 25 points and Jameer Nelson added 18 for the Magic, who shot just 37 percent from the field and had 18 turnovers.