OKLAHOMA CITY — One of the darker nights in recent Raptors history, no?
Blowout loss. Lose Kyle Lowry to a scary-looking ankle injury. Jonas Valanciunas gets dunked on rather rudely by Kevin Durant.
The blowout wasn’t a huge surprise, this is an extremely talented OKC team that could well make it back to the Finals, especially if the old Lakers and Spurs break down. Plus, the Thunder was out for blood after stumbling through the early post-James Harden days.
The ankle was a product of Lowry being Lowry, he’s in on every play, wants to grab every rebound, even though he’s a foot shorter than many of the guys he is going up against and he doesn’t quit. He was under the net many times in the game and just got tangled up with Serge Ibaka in an unfortunate wrong place, wrong time type of thing.
Some more thoughts:
- The Thunder misses Harden, but this is still a fantastic team. Thabo Sefolosha is underrated, he’s a very poor man’s Scottie Pippen. Eric Maynor is a top-notch backup point guard, and the bench has some depth and intrigue, with youngsters like Perry Jones III, Lamb, Maynor and even Hasheem Thabeet, who looked serviceable.
- Andrea Bargnani finally got going offensively, but was brutal defensively, like most of his teammates. He did look more engaged and grabbed four rebounds in the first quarter.
- The Raptors ran on the Thunder early, then gave that up for some reason. OKC is good, but the Raptors only offered token resistance most of the night and the give up mentality was a bad sign.
- Valanciunas was great. He wasn’t scared of Perkins and rebounded to getting dunked on the way you want a competitor to. He wants to get Durant back, as his “maybe next time it will be the opposite” comment to me illustrated.
- Was a tough night for DeMar DeRozan, but offensively his line looks a lot worse than how he actually performed. DeRozan attacked the rim early, but didn’t get any calls, a recurring theme. The officiating annoyed both sides in the first half and multiple technicals were called and there could have been a lot more. Westbrook and Perkins outright glared at the refs several times.
- Dwane Casey didn’t like the way the Raptors competed, but he loved the way Valanciunas did. Valanciunas didn’t think he did anything special, said he goes hard all the time no matter how the game is going and wants to establish himself as that type of player.
- Kevin Martin compared Westbrook and Lowry to each other. “They’re both fiery little guys.”
Before the game OKC coach Scott Brooks and guard Russell Westbrook both said the Raptors are a much-improved outfit. “They have good players,” Westbrook said.
Lowry is extremely doubtful for Wednesday’s game in Dallas and was hobbling out of the arena. He’ll try to demand re-entry to the lineup, and it will be up to the training staff to hold the competitor back until he is 100%.