The Toronto Raptors are now 5-0 and remain undefeated through the early part of the season. On Wednesday night, the Raptors got the W and outplayed the Oklahoma City Thunder 103-98. In a game where the Raps started out slow, the team play and unselfishness of each player is what propelled them to a victory over an elite Thunder team. The game itself was entertaining as both teams scrapped and clawed their way to every lose ball. However, when it mattered the most, the Toronto Raptors made the best of some crucial, late game possessions and as a result, are a perfect 5-0.
The game was pretty tight all the way through. At first, Toronto started out slow as they finished the first quarter trailing 23-13. However, the Raps would turn the tables as they outscored the Thunder 27-16 in the second. This, by no means, was a pretty game as both squads did a bad job taking care of the ball. The Raptors finished the game with 14 turnovers while Oklahoma City coughed the rock up 19 times. DeMar DeRozan came up big when it mattered most, finishing the game with 27 points, 5 boards, 3 assists, 2 steals as well as going 14-15 from the charity stripe. Kyle Lowry and Jonas Valanciunas chipped in 17 a piece and DeMarre Carroll contributed 13 points. For the Thunder, Kevin Durant led his team with 27points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 blocked shots. Russell Westbrook played his usual all-around game as he finished with 22 points, 16 assists and 5 boards.
While the Raptors outscored OKC, they did not accomplish this efficiently. Field goal percentage was 41.8%, while 3-point was 35.7%. We only had 12 assists which is 4 less than Russell Westbrook had in total (16). The brightest spot of our offence, in my opinion, would have to be the free throws. The team kept attacking the basket and did not rely too heavily upon the 3 ball which is a major improvement from last year and a big reason as to why Toronto won this game. Due to amount guys driving to the basket, the Raps were able to land in the bonus and get additional free throws. Of course, DeMar Derozan accounted for a good chunk of the free throws as he went 14-15 from the charity stripe. The offensive boards were also a key part in the Raps getting the W. Although, the team was unable to capitalize on a few Thunder turnovers, the offensive boards were priceless. DeMarre Carroll made a crucial offensive rebound with roughly 17 seconds left in the game.
Although, the Raptors allowed OKC to convert 47.6% of their field goals attempted, there was upside to this game on the defensive end of the ball. Toronto locked down the perimeter by allowing only 34.8% of 3 balls attempted to be made. OKC also turned the ball over 19 times, close to their average of 21 throughout the season thus far. Asides from the field goal percentage, the Raps stayed true to their defensive roots.
The Raptors were excellent on the boards this evening as they conjured up 45 on the night. 33 defensive boards and 12 offensive boards. Throughout the game, Toronto fought for every lose ball whether it was on the ground or off the glass. OKC finished with 41 boards overall. 4 less than Toronto.
Game Ball: DeMar DeRozan
It’s obvious that this ball squad needs DeRozan in order to be successful. It’s games like these where he shows what he’s truly capable of. After going scoreless in the first, DD was able to score 28 to lead the Raps to a victory. He also contributed 5 boards, 3 assists and 2 steals while knocking down 14 of his 15 free throw attempts. He also scored a third of Toronto’s fourth quarter points which shows us just how clutch he can be.