The Raptors played three quarters of beautiful basketball, gave it all away during an evitable fourth-quarter Thunder run, but really showed some poise on their final two possessions.
After Leandro Barbosa drilled a huge three out of a timeout, DeMar DeRozan rebounded a Russell Westbrook miss that gave the Raps the ball with 21 seconds to go. Stationed at the top of the 3-point arc, Barbosa eventually drew a double team after a screen-and-roll with Amir Johnson and slung it straight back in to the rolling forward -- who flipped a jump hook up and in for the game winner and a season series sweep over OKC
Leando Barbosa brought it off the bench with 19 points and was at his best in the fourth quarter -- particularly on those two final offensive possessions. On the first, Jay Triano said post-game the play out of a timeout was designed to free up Barbosa at the top of the arc for the game-tying three and he nailed it.
More impressive however, was the assist on the game winner, as Barbosa maintained his dribble, patiently awaited Kendrick Perkins as a second defender, recognized the mismatch Amir had down low with Kevin Durant and fired a perfect pass inside.
The beauty of James Johnson's night wasn't about his own 12 points, six rebounds or two assists. The versatile forward did an impressive job as the primary defender on Kevin Durant and held him to six-for-21 shooting from the floor for 20 points and drew raves from head coach Jay Triano post-game.
"Leandro made the three when we needed it on the side out of bounds play. Andrea was good, I though DeMar was good. A lot of guys played well, but if there's a game ball or anything James Johnson [gets it] with the work he did on Kevin Durant. Durant had very few easy looks."
"We said going into the game that we were going to stop them in transition and we held this team to 10 transition points; that was number one. Second is second-chance points. They had none at halftime and ended up with 10 points; five in the 3rd and five in the 4th. We knew they were a bigger team and that’s how they got back into it. Lastly, we needed to keep them off the free throw line and we didn’t do a good job of that because I think they shot 19 free throws in the 4th quarter."
- Jay Triano, on the keys to a big road win
Mon., Mar. 21 @ Denver
9:00 PM, TSN, FAN590
It's on to Denver, where the Raptors aim to extend their win streak to three games at altitude against the Nuggets. It won't be easy for the Raps, as they've dropped six straight in the Mile High City and the home side is aiming to bounce back after a pair of road losses in Florida. The Raptors fell to the Nuggets (pre-Carmelo trade) 123-116 at ACC back on Dec. 10.
|10||Fast break points for OKC, who average 16.4 per game|
|2||Consecutive wins for the Raptors, a first for them since December 1st & 3rd|
|44-38||Points in the paint favouring the Raptors|
|17||Lead changes in Sunday game|
|14||Raptors franchise-record matching road losing skid, which ended with Sunday's win|
|"Taking the challenge against a man like KD (Kevin Durant), it’s only going to help me get better. I never got the chance or opportunity to play against a man like KD or a team like the Thunder."|
- James Johnson on defending Kevin Durant
|"I thought they did a good job executing down the stretch. We struggled with execution down the stretch but I think both teams fought hard."|
- Thunder head coach Scott Brooks on the loss
|"We work on pick-and-rolls like, every day in practice. [Coach Alex] English tells us to roll hard to the basket."|
- Amir Johnson, on executing the final play