Despite having yet another close halftime score, the Oklahoma City Thunder used second half adjustments and blew out the Toronto Raptors 104-92. The game ended up being a 20 point separation with about two minutes to go, but the Raptors scored on the reserves and the Thunder won. Kevin Durant was spectacular scoring 22 points on 11 shots, along with 7 rebounds and 7 assists. Oklahoma City is now 26-7 on the season, a league best. Also, They are now 22-0 when leading after three quarters, and 22-1 when scoring 100 points.
Oklahoma City Thunder started out the game right, as they came out and pushed the score out to as much as 11 points in the first quarter. The Toronto Raptors tried to fight back numerous times from double digit deficits, but the Thunder were aggressive and shot very well. The Thunder grabbed the 11 point lead at 19-8 off a Kevin Martin three-pointer. The Raptors though, weren’t to be outdone, they closed the quarter on a 6-0 run, cutting the Thunder lead to 23-18 after one quarter.
It was the Alan Anderson show in the second quarter. Oklahoma City had no answer for him. Anderson dropped 19 points in the quarter, as Oklahoma City and Kevin Durant had no chance of stopping him. He was one point off the Toronto Raptors record for points in a quarter. The Raptors used a 12-3 run over a minute 12 seconds to take their first lead of the game. The lead would change hands eight times over the final four minutes. Oklahoma City though, took the lead going into halftime, 52-50, off a Thabo Sefolosha corner three.
Russell Westbrook played a great game for Oklahoma City, scoring 23 points, 7 assists, 4 rebounds. Serge Ibaka played a great game. He flirted with his second straight double-double. He had 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks. Nick Collison might have come close to a double-double as well. 10 points, 8 rebounds. Kevin Martin was in double figures as well, 16 points for him despite going 1-of-6 from three-point range.
There is something about the third quarter the past few games, Oklahoma City made adjustments and came out rocking. They scored eight points off four turnovers early in the third quarter to help extend their lead to 66-59 with 5:33 left in the quarter. The Thunder used a really good rotation defense to help push the ball on the perimeter, limiting the opportunities in the paint for the Raptors. Toronto had cut Oklahoma City’s lead to 60-59 with just over seven minutes to go in the quarter. Over the next 4:40, the Thunder outscored the Raptors 16-2, increasing their lead to 76-61. It was on.
The fourth quarter wasn’t even a contest. Yeah, it was a close 26-25 quarter, but the Thunder starters sat a good portion of it as the Thunder increased their lead to over 20 points at 102-81 at the 2:19 mark off the Reggie Jackson three-point bomb, basically from Tulsa. It was a flurry of points for the Raptors at the end of the game to make it respectable.
Keys to the Game
If you were to grade by halves, it would be F in the first half, and an A+ in the second half. Some how, Oklahoma City committed just six second half turnovers, for three Raptors points. Oklahoma City on the other hand, really were swarming the ball. Toronto turned the ball over 17 times, contributing to 23 Thunder points. 10 of those Toronto turnovers and 14 of those points came in the second half.
Score Points: A
Oklahoma City improved to 22-1 when scoring over 100 points. The Toronto Raptors dropped to 0-16 when allowing over 100 points. That’s a pretty simple stat and is very telling. It just seemed like any time Oklahoma City needed a point, they were able to get it, cannot say the same thing for the Raptors.
Fast Break: B
For about 1/3 of the game the Raptors really got out in transition and it kept the Thunder on their heels. Toronto was able to capitalize on this, and really hurt their defense. Then something changed. A time out was called and then it was fixed. Oklahoma City scored 17 consecutive fast break points over the course of the rest of the game. Raptors did drop in a fast break bucket in the last seconds, but that was about it.
Ryan’s Thunder Thoughts
- This game was the first of 12 of 15 on the road for the Thunder. This stretch will likely be one of the bigger tests for this team so far. It’s good the Thunder was able to start that stretch with a victory.
- Has Perkins ever made a turnaround jumper? I’ve seen him take quite a few and they never seem to fall. He’s started to hit the midrange jumper okay, but I think he should stay away from the turnaround for now.
- Amir Johnson dunked on Serge Ibaka in the first quarter. That’s going to happen when a player is a premier shot blocker, and I like how Ibaka still never backs down.
- The Thunder had a great start to the game, but finished the first quarter poorly. The team sat at 23 points for a few minutes, and gave up a 6-0 run to end the quarter.
- Ibaka had it going early, tallying 10 of the Thunder’s 23 first quarter points.
- Reggie Jackson seems to be coming into his own. He just seems so much more comfortable out there. He’s not putting up dazzling numbers, but it’s no longer terrifying when he touches the ball.
- Who is Alan Anderson? He was torching the Thunder today. He started 7-7 from the field and 4-4 from three. The Thunder didn’t seem to be guarding him early on, leading one to think that nobody expected him to be so dangerous.
- Johnson had it going as well, also starting 7-7 from the field.
- The Thunder defense was pretty streaky today. At times they shut down the Raptors, and at times they allowed offensive outbursts. Anderson and Johnson’s performances were great examples of the latter.
- When the defense was good, the Raptors were forced to take contested jumpers. When it was bad, they were getting wide open looks.
- Both Anderson and Johnson were pretty quiet after the first half, and the Thunder defense was better as a whole in that half.
- The Thunder had quite a few turnovers again today. Turnovers are going to happen, but it’s the careless ones, like lazy passes or losing the ball out of bounds, that are frustrating.
- Kevin Durant was hitting some pretty shots today, including some deep threes and near impossible fadeaway jumpers. But really, what have we grown to expect from this guy?
- The Thunder dominated the third quarter, outscoring the Raptors 26-17, thanks in large part to 12 points from Russell Westbrook. The Thunder also shot 10-11 from the free throw line in the quarter.
- Durant had a technical foul today, and it was one similar to the ones he got before being ejected against Brookyln. Westbrook pulled the all star towards the bench trying to keep him from another rejection. It’s good to see Durant’s passion, but I hope him getting technical fouls doesn’t become a habit. He’s got six on the season now, after only five the whole season last year.
- Nick Collison had a great game today, finishing with 10 points and eight rebounds. He was doing everything we love him for.
- Westbrook had four assists in the first quarter, but only three for the rest of the game. I’m not too concerned with numbers, but it’d be nice to see the assists a little higher, especially when he had five turnovers.
- Ibaka had another solid performance today, with 19 points and eight boards. He also had five turnovers though, which seems odd for him.
- After a great game from three against Philadelphia, Kevin Martin struggled from three again, going 1-6. He did finish with 16 points though, and had a pretty nice dunk in the final minute of the game.
- Westbrook had another solid shooting game, and he’s now had five straight games of shooting over 40 percent.
- Westbrook has also had five or more turnovers in four of his last five games. Those numbers have to come down.
- Durant sort of flirted with a triple double, tallying 22 points, seven assists and seven rebounds.
- Ibaka and Collison combined for nine offensive boards today.
- There were quite a few Thunder fans in Toronto today, further showing how widespread the Oklahoma City fan base has become.