NBA Hoops

Thunder fail to reach .500 with 128-111 loss to Raptors

Thunder fail to reach .500 with 128-111 loss to Raptors

As has been the theme of the season, the Oklahoma City Thunder failed to capitalize on another chance to reach .500 with a 128-111 loss to the Toronto Raptors.

The Thunder rode a three-game winning streak and a 6-1 record in their last seven games to Thursday’s chance to break even with their record. Playing in the home country of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Lu Dort, the Thunder struggled to gain control of the game.

Despite the lopsided final score in a game that saw the Raptors lead by as many as 20 points, don’t let it allude you to think it was a blowout contest.

It was a tight back-and-forth game as neither team led by more than 11 points in the first three quarters with 11 lead changes and five ties. The Raptors used a 34-25 scoring advantage in the fourth quarter to run away with this game.

Being forced to play at a high pace, the Thunder struggled to limit their turnovers and defend in transition — OKC turned the ball over 13 times, a high number compared to the low 18 team assists. In the fastbreak, the Raptors created a 23-6 scoring advantage.

“Toronto was on brand tonight,” Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault said. “I thought they were the aggressor. A lot of the fastbreaks in the first half was off of our turnovers… They were the aggressor on both ends of the floor, which is kind of their brand of basketball. It’s how they win.”

The Raptors also ate off of second-chance points, outscoring the Thunder 21-12 in that department. On the boards, the Raptors dominated with a massive 59-39 advantage and an 19-11 offensive rebounds advantage.

It was a well-balanced attack by the Raptors as six players scored at least 16 points. All-Star Pascal Siakam headlined the win as he finished with 25 points on 9-of-19 shooting, 14 rebounds and eight assists.

Other contributors include Gary Trent Jr., who scored 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting off the bench. A Trent Jr. 3 iced the game as it gave the Raptors a 20-point lead with 4:52 left in the game.

Jakob Poeltl recorded a 16-point and 12-rebound double-double. Fred VanVleet and Scottie Barnes each scored 19 points and O.G. Anunoby had 17 points.

Overall, the Raptors’ starting lineup combined to score 96 of their 123 points.

For the Thunder, it was the SGA show as he finished with an efficient 29 points. The Toronto native played great in his homecoming against the Raptors in the 17-point loss.

Let’s take a look at Thunder player grades.

Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY…

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