Before today's game I could have come up with a long list of reasons why the Raptors would get blown out in this one. The Thunder are a bigger, more talented squad, and the odds were completely against the Dinos.
However, Toronto did not back down. They played with effort and grit for the whole 48 minutes, and despite the loss, fans in the ACC left with a smile on their face. But when the game came to a close, the Thunder prevailed, as their talent proved to be too much for the Raptors.
Raptors MVP: Alan Anderson
Alan Anderson; the man with a veterans minimum salary, who was in the D-League just last season, was the best player in today's game. Not just on the Raptors, but on either team. He was on fire right off the bat, recording 17 points in his first 9 minutes. The Raptors were a visibly better team with him on the court, and he wasn't just scoring, but creating opportunities for teammates and playing tough defense as well. He got the better end of the SF match up in this one, which is incredible considering who he was faced up against. He finished with a career-high 27 points, in what was undoubtedly the best game of his NBA career. Which leads us to the tweet of the game...
Tweet of the game:
Alan Anderson is the greatest player to ever play basketball.#Raptors— Andy Phillips (@DandyPhillips) January 6, 2013
The Andrea Bargnani Award (LVP): Mickael Pietrus
The honor of the Andrea Bargnani Award is bestowed upon Mickael Pietrus, who played similar to the way he's played all season... terribly. But today's game was different, as his 16 minutes of court time forced the new 'greatest player ever', Alan Anderson, to sit on the bench.
Comment of the night: via defensive stance
"That fadeaway 3 by Pietrus pretty much sums up his contribution to the team. Why is this guy starting? Do the Raptors have some sort of internal team rule about having one #$%tty starter on the floor at all times? And since Bargnani is injured... well... ummmm... TAG you're it Mr Pietrus!"
Couldn't have said it better myself.
Worst Coaching Decision:
This was not one of Dwane Casey's best games. He made multiple poor decisions, including giving Pietrus 16 minutes, which made it feel like one of our guys was in the penalty box, and the opponent had 16 minutes of 5 on 4.
But his worst decision came at the end of the first half. The Raptors came out of a time out with a full shot clock, and 34 seconds remaining in the half. Instead of going for a quick shot, so they could get the ball back before the end of the half, they held the ball, and took a shot near the end of the shot clock. Casey seemed to have no problem with this, as he sat on the bench without saying a word.
Most Ridiculous Jack/Matt Moment:
In the third quarter, during an OKC run, Kyle Lowry was placed into the game, with the hopes of providing the Raptors with a spark. He went aggresively to the hole, but was called for an offensive foul, for kicking Serge Ibaka while in the air. After watching the replay it was clear that the ref made a good call, and Lowry purposely kicked Ibaka. But according to Jack, oh no, not a kick, Lowry was just "extending his leg". Okay Jack. Okay.
The Raptors next game is Wednesday night in the ACC, as they take on their divisional rival 76ers. Be sure to stop by the HQ, as we'll be blogging live.
As always, for full opponent coverage of the match, jump to SB Nation's opposing team blog, in this case, Welcome to Loud City.