Game Rap: Raptors 102, Thunder 123
Holly MacKenzie - Raptors.com
IT WAS OVER WHEN
The Thunder held a 27-point lead at the end of the third quarter. With a back-to-back in Detroit looming, Toronto rested its starters for the entire fourth as Oklahoma City picked up a dominant 123-102 road win.
Carroll returned to the lineup after missing three of the last four games with a sprained ankle. In his first game back, Carroll returned to the starting lineup, replacing Norman Powell who had been in his place. Carroll joined Serge Ibaka, Jonas Valanciunas, DeMar DeRozan and Cory Joseph in the starting five.
After a rough-shooting first half where Toronto connected on just 40 percent of its field goals, the Thunder led by 10 at the break. Oklahoma City shot 50 percent, to lead 58-48 at the half despite attempting just seven free throws to Toronto’s 21 attempts in the first two quarters. The difference for OKC came at the 3-point line. The Thunder shot 5-for-10 from deep in the half. In comparison, Toronto connected on just 1-of-10 attempts from beyond the arc. The Raptors also got burned on turnovers, as the Thunder scored 10 points off eight Raptors turnovers. DeMar DeRozan led the Raptors with 14 points in the half, while Russell Westbrook led Oklahoma City with 12 points, 11 assists and six rebounds. Victor Oladipo added 11.
Things started to fall apart for the Raptors in the third quarter. After shooting 40 percent in the first half, Toronto’s field goal percentage jumped to 46 percent in the third as they scored 22 points, but the Thunder exploded for a 39-point quarter. Oklahoma City shot 62 percent in the third, making 5-of-8 3-point field goals, while Toronto was scoreless from deep in the quarter. Westbrook again led the Thunder, scoring 12 in the quarter, picking up his 34th triple-double of the game as he finished the third quarter with 24 points, 10 rebounds and 16 assists in 28 minutes. The Raptors were led in the third by eight points apiece from DeMar DeRozan and Serge Ibaka, but the Thunder had blown the game open by the end of the quarter, taking a 97-70 lead into the fourth quarter.
With a back-to-back in Detroit looming, and the Thunder lead 27 to start the final quarter, Dwane Casey sat his starters for the duration of the fourth. Although the bench lineup played with energy and hustle, the game was already out of hand before the fourth started. Still, the reserves made the most of their extended run, outscoring the Thunder reserves 32-26 in the quarter. Norman Powell scored nine points and Pascal Siakam added seven to lead the Raptors as the Thunder cruised to their 39th victory of the season.
RAPTORS PLAYER OF THE GAME
DeMar DeRozan scored a team-high 22 points in 29 minutes. He shot 8-of-14 from the floor and 6-for-7 at the free throw line. DeRozan added three rebounds and three assists.
UNDERRATED RAPTORS PLAYER(S) OF THE GAME
Norman Powell led the reserves in scoring with 13 points in 22 minutes off the bench. Powell scored nine of his 13 in the final quarter. He shot 4-for-12 from the floor, 1-for-3 from beyond the arc and 4-for-5 from the free throw line. He also aded four rebounds.
THAT'S A RAP…
“We know we’ve got to come out and play harder. That team played [like it was the] playoffs, with a sense of urgency, everything you can think of from the get go. We didn’t. The score told that.”
- DeMar DeRozan summing up a rough night
BY THE #’S
14…Made 3-pointers for the Thunder in 25 attempts (56 percent). In comparison, the Raptors connected on just 5-of-20 attempts (25 percent), with four of those coming in the fourth quarter.
53…Percent shooting for Oklahoma City, 46 percent shooting for Toronto.
47…Rebounds for the Thunder compared to 32 for Toronto.
17…OKC outscored Toronto 17-1 in second chance points.
THEY SAID IT…
“That exhibition of basketball was unacceptable. I want to apologize to our fans, everybody, for the way we played tonight. That's just the effort. The competitive spirit wasn’t there. That team came out and played like it was a championship game and we played like it was a middle of the season game. It's not acceptable and that's the bottom line.”
- Dwane Casey on the effort in the loss
“With 15 games, 14 now, left in the season, we can't have efforts like this, we can't come out and play like this. It's not about making shots, it's not about offence, it's about us having a competitive spirit, coming out and treating all these games like playoff games. We're trying to place ourselves in good position going into the playoffs and having nights like this can't happen.”
- P.J. Tucker on the post-game conversation in the locker room
“That’s definitely the biggest frustration. Obviously we proved we can do it. We’ve done it, and we do it at times. With however many games left, and going into the postseason, it has to be something that’s consistent.”
- DeMar DeRozan on the frustration of inconsistent performances
“Offence has been dictating how we play. If we make shots we play defence, it's gotta be the other way around. We have to play defence, guard people and then let the offence come. But number one, we gotta play hard. We didn't play hard tonight. They outplayed us from the beginning, off the jump, as soon as they said go, they played harder than us. They ran the floor hard, they screened hard, they crashed the glass hard. They did everything hard and we didn't.”
- P.J. Tucker on the team’s recent inconsistency
The Raptors will fly to Detroit to take on the Pistons in a back-to-back on Friday at 7:30 P.M. ET.