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Magic Vs. Thunder: Orlando Falls 97-89 In Christmas Day Opener In Oklahoma City

On a poor shooting night in Oklahoma City, the Orlando Magic lost their season opener to the Thunder by a final of 97-89. Oklahoma City, the trendy pick to win the Western Conference, was led by MVP candidate Kevin Durant who had 30 points on an efficient 19 attempts from the floor. OKC shot 52% from behind the arc while the Magic were cold for most of the evening, shooting just 29% from three.

Ryan Anderson led all Orlando scorers with 25 points. Anderson set the tone for Orlando on the offensive end, scoring six of the Magic's first eight points. He hit six threes and was one of the few Orlando players who got any rhythm going on the offensive end. While Jason Richardson struggled mightily, Anderson led the team with 17 attempts from the floor - not necessarily an indicator for Orlando offensive success.

Center Dwight Howard's Christmas day struggles continued against the Thunder in 2011. Howard, who averages less than eight points a game on Christmas, finished with just 11 points on four of 12 shooting. He also missed five of his eight attempts from the charity stripe.

Orlando, which trailed by as many as 20 points in the second half, fought back to cut it to eight with a minute to play but it would be too little too late. Against one of the best teams in the league, the poor shooting was simply too much to overcome. They have little time to regroup from the loss, as they host the Houston Rockets Monday night in their home opener on the second night of a back-to-back.

For more news, analysis, and discussion on Orlando, visit SB Nation's Magic blog, Orlando Pinstriped Post. Visit SB Nation's Thunder blog, Welcome to Loud City, for the opponent's perspective. For news and notes from around the league, be sure to follow SB Nation's NBA hub.

Photographs by, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.