The Oklahoma City Thunder exemplified why they are one of the best teams in the NBA, pulling away easily in the second half to roll over the Toronto Raptors, 91-75.
The Raptors were playing soild basketball and kept the game close in the first half. The Thunder were only leading by a 7 point margin at halftime, 50-43. The Raptors even pulled within 3 points with 6:05 remaining in the 3rd quarter, as the Thunder lead 58-55, but that’s when the tide changed. The Thunder then went on to extend the lead, going up huge, 82-55 with 9:35 to go in the 4th quarter. That 3rd & 4th quarter span was a 24-0 run for OKC (yes, you read that correctly), and it essentially took all of the wind out of Toronto’s sails.
Jose Calderon returned from his eye injury that he suffered in the game vs. the Philadelphia 76ers (an inadventent elbow from Elton Brand), and James Johnson was also back in the lineup after missing 2 straight games for what is being deemed an ‘internal matter’. Unfortunately their presence wasn’t enough against the high flying Thunder.
Andrea Bargnani left the game with 4:03 left in the 2nd quarter and did not return in the contest. He was playing well until that point, scoring 7 points and grabbing 5 boards in only 13 minutes. Andrea’s previously inured calf muscle tightened up on him, and as a result sat out the rest of the game. Calderon was the only other Raptor who was efficient with their play in this game, scoring 19 points on 8-12 shooting, including 3-4 from 3 point range. He also had 6 assists, and 2 steals. DeMar Derozan scored 16 points, but it came on 6-22 shooting from the field.
The Thunder’s attack was lead by the usual suspects, NBA MVP candidate Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and the likley front runner for the 6th Man of The Year award, James Harden. They scored 23, 15, and 17 respectively. Serge Ibaka was once again the major defensive presence that he has been all season, which will no doubt help him garner votes for Defensive Player of the Year award. He had 5 blocked shots, pulled down 6 rebounds, and added 8 points in 23 minutes of playing time.
Raptors head coach Dwane Casey hasn’t liked what he’s seen from his team the past 2 games, and addressed the media following the game:
Up next, the Toronto Raptors will travel to Indiana for a Monday night match up against the Pacers at Conseco Fieldhouse.