The Toronto Raptors looked tired and not at all interested in playing a full game of basketball on Friday night, and as a result, the Oklahoma City Thunder walked all over them — to the tune of a 132-113 Thunder win.
Oklahoma City used a 41-point second quarter to put the Raptors into a double-digit hole, one they simply couldn’t climb out of. Though the Raptors had some moments on offense in the third, they couldn’t get any stops — and OKC used a 13-4 run partway through the fourth to put the game away for good.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 20 for the Thunder, and his Team Canada partner Lu Dort added 13 points and 7 boards. But two-way player Eugene Omoruyi stole the show, scoring 22 points on 8-for-10 shooting.
How bad was Toronto’s D? Eight Thunder players scored in double-figures, and the team shot 56% from the floor and 41% from downtown. Remember, this is a team that is deliberately designed to lose games. And the Raptors looked like chumps against them,
Chris Boucher led the Raptors with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Fred VanVleet scored 15 for the Raptors before leaving the game with a non-COVID illness; Scottie Barnes had 15 as well, and O.G. Anunoby had 13 points and 2 steals.
The Raptors didn’t look great in the first quarter, but forced enough turnovers to keep the score within five. But the Thunder settled in in the second frame, and the Raptors pretty much checked out. Five of OKC’s first seven buckets in the second quarter came on dunks and layups (and the other two were threes) as they raced out to a 47-36 lead. They didn’t let up, either, eventually taking a 15-point lead — and they did it all with their reserves! SGA and Dort sat out the first eight minutes of the frame as Mark Daigneault let his bench have their way with the Raptors. The lead ballooned to 59-42 before an exasperated Nick Nurse finally called timeout.
The Raptors gave up 70 points in the first half; only three Gary Trent Jr. free throws right before the halftime buzzer kept the deficit a respectable 14.
The Raptors really missed Pascal Siakam on both ends tonight. He’s an anchor on defense, a fleet-footed trapping big who helps Anunoby and VanVleet cause headaches on the perimeter; without him, and with Barnes struggling defensively, guys like SGA can get wherever they want to go.
And offensively? Forget it. With only Fred left as a comfortable creator — again, Barnes only has it in spurts right now — when he’s locked down by an opposing guard like Lu Dort, the Raptors resort to even more dribbling and isolation ball, with no movement. Long jumpers deep into the clock ensue — low percentage looks that the Raptors aren’t built for.
Barnes was a true lowlight in the second quarter; his energy and effort were non-existent, and I think it’s safe to say his head wasn’t in it either.
scottie's latest sequence:— William Lou (@william_lou) November 12, 2022
- misses two drives
- falls for ball fake, doesn't contest open jumper
- doesn't contest layup
- loses defensive rebound, never picks up assignment, doesn't contest layup
- doesn't contest poku walking in for layup
He gave up a drive to Aleksej Pokusevski right after that, where he fell on his butt before the unyielding force of the approximately 95-pound Poku, and then let Shai drop in a short J while Barnes was flat footed under the rim.
Oh, and Barnes airballed a three-pointer as well.
With Siakam out, the Raptors need Barnes to be mentally and physically ready to play. He was neither in the first half — but someone must have gotten into his ear at halftime, because Scottie did look better in the second half.
He drew two early fouls and led a fast break, albeit an unsuccessful one as Poku broke up the play at the rim. Barnes then stole a Dort pass and took Josh Giddey in the post and scored — then he did it again. He piled up 9 points on pure aggression in the first six minutes of the third.
Of course, it didn’t mean much — because no matter what the Raptors did on offense, they just couldn’t string enough stops together to cut into the lead; in fact, they couldn’t stop the Thunder from getting to the hoop, period, as the Thunder scored 20 points in the paint in the third, and when they weren’t scoring at the rim, they were kicking it out for open threes (four triples in the third). They took a 106-85 lead into the fourth.
Wednesday night’s O.G. Anunoby dunkfest continued; he didn’t get up to six dunks like he had against the Rockets, but he had four by my count, including a high-degree-of-difficulty and-1 in the third.
O.G. is just dunking everything as hard as he can as often as he can, and it's honestly one of the most fun developments of the young season for me.— Joshua Howe (@Howevolution) November 12, 2022
The Raptors tried to go at Poku early in the first, with both Anunoby and Barnes sizing him up — but Poku stood his ground, actually blocked a Barnes shot, and got himself a dunk on the other end.
Both teams are tops in the league at taking care of the boll — but they turned it over like a hot potato in the first 7 minutes tonight, with a combined 15 turnovers. Naturally, O.G. Anunoby had his two steals in the quarter.
When the Thunder could hang on to the ball, the shot the heck out of it, to the tune of 69% shooting in the quarter. Lu Dort had three early corner threes, breaking out of a season-to-date shooting slump. Shai himself capped an 11-2 run with three of his own that put the Thunder up 24-15. When Shai had a seat the Raptors’ bench managed to close the gap slightly, and finished the frame trailing OKC 29-24. Shai and Dort combined for 18 in the quarter.
Early subs were Thad Young and Boucher; those two had some wonderful minutes together last season; they connected on a sexy alley-oop (yeah I said sexy!) off a broken play just before the first quarter ended.
Porter also entered the game in the first; if there’s any advantage to the Raptors being without Siakam and Achiuwa, getting Young and Porter minutes is a good thing. Sure, Young hasn’t looked great early in the season, but the thing with veterans like Thad, and Porter too, that don’t always impact the game by scoring, is that it can take them some time to find that niche where they can make an impact.
The entire fourth quarter was extended garbage time for Toronto; Dalano Banton, Juancho Hernangomez and Malachi Flynn all played the entire quarter. Flynn scored 12 points, on 3-of-4 shooting from downtown; hopefully that’s a performance that can build some confidence for him.
The Raptors are right back at it tomorrow night in Indiana.