Notebook: Thunder 108, Raptors 88



Posted Nov 7, 2012 12:08 AM

By Randy Renner, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: The Oklahoma City Thunder got off to a fast start and never slowed down in a 108-88 blowout of the Toronto Raptors. OKC's starters spent the fourth quarter being cheerleaders from the bench with the game in hand. Point guard Russell Westbrook led six Thunder players in double figures with 19 points and eight assists, forward Serge Ibaka had his second straight solid game with 17 points, Kevin Durant added 15 points, six rebounds and three assists, Kevin Martin also had 15 points for the Thunder.

Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry who came into the game averaging a team-high 23.7 points, managed just two on 1-for-4 shooting before leaving late in the first half with a sprained ankle. Rookie center Jonas Valanciunas led the Raptors with 18 points on 6-for-8 shooting. Forward Andrea Bargnani dropped in 16 but it took him 14 shots to get there.

The Thunder dominated inside, outrebounding Toronto 46-37 at one end of the floor and outscoring the Raptors in the paint 42-34 at the other end.

QUOTABLE: "The start was a big part of our win tonight. We talked about coming out with defensive toughness and everybody got involved on the defensive end and offensively I thought our ball movement and our passing were outstanding."

--Thunder head coach Scott Brooks

QUOTABLE II: "We let them score a lot of easy points. We've got to get better on defense. They're one of the best teams in the league so it's hard to compete with them but we can do a better job."

-- Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas

THE STAT: Thunder backup center Hasheem Thabeet has rejuvenated his career in Oklahoma City, drawing praise from coaches and teammates for his strong work ethic. Tonight Thabeet logged almost 23 minutes and scored 10 points (tying his career-high) on 2-for-2 from the field and 6-for-6 at the line. He also grabbed five rebounds, blocked two shots and stole the ball before fouling out late in the game.

TURNING POINT: OKC went on a 9-0 run in the first quarter to erase an early Toronto lead and never looked back. The Thunder led by as many as 29. After being in "cruise mode," as Durant said after the Atlanta loss, the Thunder put the pedal to the metal early and kept it there.

QUOTABLE III: "Everybody down the line was good tonight. We got stops, we got rebounds, we got out in transition. It feels good."

-- Durant

HOT: OKC started the game shooting 62.5 percent (10-for-16). ... Thunder shooting guard Thabo Sefolosha, known more for his defense, was 3-for-3 on long balls in the first quarter. ... Ibaka was 4-for-5 in the first half and finished the game 8-for-9.

NOT: After averaging 28.3 points in the first quarters of their three previous games, the Raptors managed just 17 points in the first 12 minutes against the Thunder. Toronto started the game with four turnovers in the first five minutes and shot just 36.8 percent (7-for-19) in the first quarter. The Raps' shooting percentage got as loaw as 31.4 percent in the second quarter before finishing the half at 33.3 percent. ... Bargnani was just 4-for-12 in the first half and finished the game 5-for-14. ... Lowry was 1-for-4 (two points) before leaving with a sprained ankle late in first half. ... Durant was just 4-for-11 (1-for-4 on 3-pointers).

GOOD MOVE: Brooks told reporters before the game he wanted to see his team play lock-down defense and that's exactly what the Thunder did. The Raptors were shooting just 33.8 percent (22-for-65) after three quarters.

BAD MOVE: Raptors head coach Dwane Casey said before the game he would pack the paint against Westbrook and dare him to shoot 3s. In the first half Westbrook was 2-for-4 on 3-pointers and even though the Raps packed the paint, Westbrook drove in there anyway and was fouled three times. He hit five of his six free throws and finished the half as OKC's leading scorer (13 points).

NOTABLE: Lowry rolled his right ankle just before halftime when he landed on Ibaka's foot after a jump shot. He did not return to the game and his status is day-to-day. ... The Thunder continue to be one of the best "bounce-back" teams in the NBA. Last season OKC was 15-3 in games following a loss. In 2010-11 the team posted a 20-6 mark in those games. With the win tonight the Thunder are 2-0 following losses this season.

UP NEXT: For the Raptors, Wednesday @ Dallas, Saturday vs. Philadelphia, Monday vs. Utah. For the Thunder, Thursday @ Chicago, Friday vs. Detroit, Sunday vs. Cleveland.