A win is a win.
The Raptors beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 100-88 on Tuesday night, but not as easily as they should have. The Thunder were notably without the services of their two megastars, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, along with Anthony Morrow, Jeremy Lamb, and Andre Roberson. Considering they also lost Perry Jones in the game to a knee contusion and Reggie Jackson was hobbled with both wrist and knee issues, this should have been an easy win, right?
Unfortunately, defence still stood out as an issue in the early going, as the Raptors let the Thunder shoot 12 for 17 in the first quarter and 61% in the first half. OKC simply broke down in the second half, though, whittling all the way down to having six available players by the end of the game, three of whom had five fouls.
It was the second night of a back-to-back for the Thunder and the fifth game in seven nights. All the injuries proved to be too much for them and there was only so much Serge Ibaka (25 points, 11 rebounds, 11 for 14 shooting from the floor, 3 for 6 from three-point range) and Reggie Jackson (13 points, 14 assists) could do.
Jonas Valanciunas suffered two separate injuries on the night, hurting his wrist in the first quarter and receiving an inadvertent Sebastian Telfair hand to the face in the second. The wrist injury was minor and he was able to tape it and return, but the face contusion ruled him out of the game after less than 13 minutes of action in the first half. He's considered questionable for tomorrow night's game in Boston, one that Amir Johnson has already been ruled out of.
With the absence of the Raptors' regular starting power forward and center, Patrick Patterson (14 points, two threes, eight rebounds, two steals, one block) and Tyler Hansbrough (12 points, seven rebounds) were big contributors, while Greg Stiemsma also got in some meaningful minutes (posting four points and three offensive rebounds).
The other starters were mostly quiet, although DeMar DeRozan chipped in a team-high 16 points and Kyle Lowry added 5 assists and 0 turnovers, moving his season-long ratio to 23:2. Lou Williams put up 12 points in only 19 minutes, including 9 points in the fourth quarter. Terrence Ross did this (via Raptors Republic):
The Raptors head to Boston tomorrow night to take on the Celtics in the second game of a back-to-back before returning to the ACC for a seven-game home stand. Dwane Casey got some extended minutes out of his bench tonight and they played well. That should leave his remaining starters nice and fresh for tomorrow night, the team's fourth game in five nights.
What did you think of the game? Are you worried about the Raptors' defence to start the season? Are you just happy to be 3-1 or do you think the team has some big concerns going forward?