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Thunder get right with blowout destruction of Raptors

Nov 7, 2012, 12:05 AM EDT

Oklahoma City Thunder Russell Westbrook passes inside to a teammate in their NBA basketball game against the Toronto Raptors in Oklahoma City

If you want the short version of how things went for the Raptors in Oklahoma City on Tuesday, we have that for you here and here. For those that want the excruciating details, feel free to continue.

It’s amazing how any the talk of chemistry issues and in-house bickering suddenly disappears when a weaker opponent comes to town, and is dismantled with ease by the defending Western Conference champs. That’s essentially what the Thunder did in the team’s 108-88 win over Toronto — they made their problems vanish, if only for a night.

OKC had this game in hand, even before Kyle Lowry — who had been sensational to start the season — went down with an ankle injury less than two minutes before halftime, with his team already trailing by 17 points.

It started early for the Thunder, when their attacking offense and unselfish ball movement led to wide-open looks for the team’s lesser players. Thabo Sefolosha led OKC in scoring with nine at the end of the first quarter, after hitting all three of his three-point field goal attempts — all of which were assisted by his teammates.

The unselfishness was truly the theme for the Thunder on this night, as proven by the blowout coming when neither Kevin Durant nor Russell Westbrook had anywhere close to the dominant games they’re each capable of. Westbrook got to the line plenty, and led the team in scoring with 19 points, but shot just 5-of-12 from the field. Durant had his moments, but finished with just 15 points on 4-of-11 shooting.

Part of the reason for the low numbers from the Thunder’s stars was due to the low minutes they played in such a lopsided game — under 30 for Durant, and under 29 for Westbrook. But the team was picked up by 17 points in 23 minutes from Serge Ibaka on 8-of-9 shooting, and solid contributions from Kevin Martin and Hasheem Thabeet off the bench.

The energy level just wasn’t there from the Raptors in this one, and they couldn’t find a way to get anyone into a consistent rhythm to help carry the load offensively. DeMar DeRozan had one of those forgettable nights people point to when balking at the large contract extension he just received, and Andrea Bargnani continues to be unreliable as the team’s go-to offensive threat.

The loss of Lowry early on certainly didn’t help, but again, the game was over long before then. This one will go down as a get-right night for the Thunder, and the Raptors will leave Oklahoma City in the same state that they entered — still searching for answers.

  1. miamatt - Nov 7, 2012 at 11:14 AM

    I get the feeling many teams will “get right” against the Raptors this year.

  2. borderline1988 - Nov 7, 2012 at 11:43 AM

    Wow, as a Raptor fan, that was brutal.

    The Thunder got wide open shots at will. They would run a quick pick and roll, swing the ball, and suddenly there’s a guy open in the corner with no Raptor within 20 feet.

    And Jose Calderon is a great shooter and distributor, but his inability to drive is a huge weakness. Opposing players cheat on picks and dare him to turn the corner and go to the rim. They also always force him left, even to the point where there’s a wide open lane, but Calderon never takes it b/c he can’t elevate at the rim, or even take any body contact and draw the foul.
    Calderon is good, but it seems easy to plan around him.

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