Game Rap: Raptors 112, Thunder 102
Holly MacKenzie - Raptors.com
IT WAS OVER WHEN
DeMar DeRozan hit a gorgeous bank shot with 1:43 remaining to put the Raptors ahead by 14 points. Toronto bounced back after Oklahoma City scored the first 12 points of the game to collect a 112-102 road victory against the Thunder.
SECOND QUARTER SURGE
After a slow first quarter that had the Raptors fall behind by as many as 13 points with less than four minutes remaining, Toronto managed to get within seven going into the second quarter. Things turned around in a big way for the Raptors as they exploded for a 42-point quarter, outscoring the Thunder 42-28 to take a 62-55 halftime lead. Toronto shot 65 percent in the quarter, including 63 percent from beyond the arc while assisting on 11 of 15 field goals.
The Raptors were without Jonas Valanciunas and Terrence Ross on Wednesday. Valanciunas missed his second consecutive game with a left knee contusion, while Ross was a late scratch with a sprained right index finger.
RAPTORS PLAYER(S) OF THE GAME
DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry were each brilliant in their own ways for the Raptors in Oklahoma City. DeRozan scored 37 points on 13-for-22 field goals, adding four rebounds, six assists and three steals as well. Lowry narrowly missed out on a triple-double, scoring 19 points to go with 13 assists, nine rebounds and a blocked shot. DeRozan’s big scoring night put him in the record books again, as he became the first player since Bernard King (1990-91 season) to get six 30-point efforts in his first seven games of the season.
UNDERRATED RAPTORS PLAYER OF THE GAME
When Jonas Valanciunas went down with a knee contusion, an opportunity arose for reserve big man Lucas Nogueira. After injuring his ankle in the preseason finale, Nogueira had been waiting for a chance to work his way back into the rotation. He took his opportunity and ran with it on Wednesday. Nogueira’s energy helped Toronto to turn the game around against the Thunder. He finished with 10 points, seven rebounds, an assist and two steals while shooting a perfect 5-for-5 from the floor. Most impressive, the team was a +30 with Nogueira on the floor in a 10-point victory.
THAT'S A RAP…
“This is the start of something, hopefully. We’re not going to get too excited about one good shooting game from three, but we shot it well from three tonight, 42 percent. Everybody made shots, I think it could be the start of something, but we’re not going to live or die by the jump shot. We’re going to play basketball and rely on our defence.”
- Kyle Lowry on a good shooting night from deep
BY THE #’S
25…Assists for the Raptors, 18 for the Thunder.
13…Turnovers for Toronto leading to 16 points for Oklahoma City. In comparison, the Thunder turned the ball over 21 times leading to 25 points for the Raptors.
52…Percent shooting for the Raptors, 42% shooting for the Thunder. The Raptors came into the game last in the league in three-point shooting. They made 42 percent of their attempts from deep against the Thunder, while Oklahoma City connected on just 35 percent of their three-pointers.
36…Points, seven rebounds, seven assists, one steal, two blocked shots, and eight turnovers from Russell Westbrook who was doing a bit of everything for the Thunder.
46…Points in the paint for the Raptors, 32 for the Thunder.
THEY SAID IT…
“It was a five-man job. Not one guy is going to stop him. It’s on the team. I thought we executed our game plan. We wanted them to shoot the three and they did. We took away the paint. That was our game plan going in, and making sure he saw a crowd the entire night.”
- Dwane Casey on trying to slow Russell Westbrook
“His length and his ability to block shots, change shots, get down and guard the ball. When he plays, he plays well. I think he just has to keep the confidence to go out there and play basketball.”
- Kyle Lowry on Lucas Nogueira
“Lucas was a +30. That was huge for us tonight. Coming off the bench and giving us a big plug like that. The other night I thought Jakob [Poeltl] outplayed him, tonight it was Lucas’ night and that’s probably the way it’s going to be, a two-headed monster with those guys until JV gets back in. He really did a good job coming off the bench and giving us a spark.”
- Dwane Casey on a big night from Lucas Nogueira
The Raptors head to Charlotte to take on the Eastern Conference leading Hornets on Friday at 7 P.M. ET.