Friday saw possibly the best third quarter that the Raptors have played all season. They simply came out of the break recommitted on the defensive end, determined to deny second-chance opportunities and took better care of the basketball (one turnover).
The result was a 17-4 run to start the quarter that allowed the Raptors to seize control for good. The Raptors finished the frame with an 11-2 advantage in fast break points, four of their seven steals and 12 assists on 13 made baskets. You can't ask for much better than that.
Another solid effort for Andrea Bargnani, who got off to a great start offensively, went cold in the second, but recovered to finish in very efficient fashion the last two quarters (7/10 FGM-A, 15 points) when the Raptors took control.
Bargnani also reached his first double-double of the season in the win, with a season-high 12 boards (three offensive) to go with his team-high 26 points. That also makes it a career-best fourth straight game that he's led the team in rebounding.
Jose Calderon just made the Raptors go on Friday, tying a season-high with 15 assists -- eight of which came in the decisive third quarter. Equally important was the solid defensive job he did with explosive OKC guard Russell Westbrook.
"It was tough," said Calderon post-game. "He’s fast, he’s strong, he does a little bit of everything. The only thing I was trying to do was give him different looks… That way he couldn’t get into the rhythm... I was trying to get in front of him all the time and it worked."
"Number eight. The eighth win. It doesn’t matter who we play and I know that KD (Kevin Durant) didn’t play, but this team still has 13 wins. They beat Boston, in Boston, without Jeff Green and without (Kevin) Durant. Enjoy every one of these. That’s eight on the year for us and I’ll enjoy number nine more than I did number eight."
- Jay Triano, on where the win ranks for him
Sun., Dec. 5 vs. Knicks
1 PM ET, Rogers Sportsnet, FAN590
The Raps now head into a big early-season divisional showdown with the Knicks (11-9), who remain 2.5 games ahead of the Raptors for seventh spot in the Eastern Conference following their big 100-92 road win over the Hornets on Friday. The Knicks spoiled the Raps' home opener back on Nov. 27 with a 98-93 win.
|8-7||Raptors record all-time vs. the Thunder/Sonics at ACC|
|54.9||Shooting percentage for the Raptors|
|42-34||Rebounding totals favouring the Raptors|
|29||Raptors assists on 45 made field goals|
|18||Points scored by the Raptors off 11 Thunder turnovers|
|"As long as I keep playing and don’t worry about the fouls, just play the game. That’s what Jay told me, just go out there and play and don’t worry about the fouls and the game will come to you."|
- Amir Johnson, on his approach
|"We got beat by a good team. They have been playing good basketball, Coach Jay has them playing hard, playing fast and playing good team ball. We just got beat."|
- Thunder head coach Scott Brooks on the Raptors
|"You just try to forget about it. It was definitely really quick and I was really mad. But I know that I cannot lose my way to play the game, especially because the fouls are there. "|
- Leandro Barbosa, on two quick fouls