Game Preview: Raptors vs Thunder

Holly MacKenzie - Raptors.com

Toronto Raptors (50-21) @ Oklahoma City Thunder (42-29)

When: Wednesday, March 20th, 9:30 P.M. ET

Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena

Leading into tonight’s game:

- Injury report: For the Raptors, Kyle Lowry (sprained right ankle) is listed as questionable. For the Thunder, Andre Roberson (left patellar tendon) is out. Nerlens Noel (left quad contusion) is listed as questionable.

- Away and home: Wednesday’s game is the first of two consecutive games against the Thunder. While Toronto is on the road in Oklahoma City for Wednesday, the two teams will end up in Toronto to close the week when the Raptors will host the Thunder at Scotiabank Arena on Friday. After Wednesday’s game, the Raptors have just one road game remaining against a Western Conference opponent and it will be when they close out their regular season in Minnesota against the Timberwolves.

- Recent history: Toronto enters Wednesday’s game following a dominant 128-92 victory over the New York Knicks on Monday. The Thunder are hoping to bounce back after a 116-107 loss at home to the Miami Heat on Monday. Though Paul George had a game-high 31 points to go with nine rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocked shots, the Thunder missed Russell Westbrook who missed the game due to a suspension after picking up his 16th technical of the season against the Golden State Warriors on Saturday.

Extra Assists

- 50 Club: Toronto’s victory against New York gave the team its fourth consecutive 50-win season. The Raptors had never reached 50 wins prior to this stretch beginning in 2015-16. In this span, the Raptors have the third-best record in the NBA and best in the Eastern Conference, trailing just Golden State and San Antonio. The franchise record for wins is 59, set during the 2017-18 season.

- Lin leading the way: Jeremy Lin led the Raptors offensively in Monday’s victory, scoring a team-high 20 points off the bench in 27 minutes. He shot 7-for-11 from the floor and was 5-for-7 from the free-throw line while adding three rebounds and two assists. Eight different Raptors scored in double figures in Monday’s game as the team shot 56 percent from the floor and 43 percent from beyond the three-point line in the win.

- Dishing dimes: Fred VanVleet had another big night in his second game since returning from a torn thumb ligament that sidelined him for 12 consecutive games. With Kawhi Leonard out for load management, VanVleet stepped into the starting lineup and immediately got to work, dishing six assists in the first quarter as the Raptors built a 38-29 lead after the opening 12 minutes. VanVleet finished with a 13-point, 12-assist double-double, adding two rebounds, a steal and a blocked shot while turning over the ball just once in 29 minutes. 

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