With seven different players who scored in double digits and shooting a scorching 61.2 percent from the ground, the The Toronto Raptors managed to endure to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 130-121 in a shooting at the Chesapeake Energy Arena on Wednesday night.
This was a night when Marc Gasol returned to the Raptors after missing the last 12 games with a hamstring injury and starting in a giant lineup along with Serge Ibaka, Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby and Kyle Lowry.
With Gasol back in the fold, the only key that Raptor left sidelined is Fred VanVleet, an encouraging sign for a Toronto team that has been decimated by injuries throughout the season.
Here are some conclusions of a wild and entertaining victory for the Raptors in OKC.
As mentioned earlier, the Raptors were spectacular offensively.
His 61.2 percent mark from the field has only been matched or exceeded 10 times in franchise history and ranks as the sixth best Raptors shooting performance. In addition, it was only the 18th time they scored 130 points or more in a game, and only the eleventh time in a matter with no overtime.
With these striking numbers came impressive individual performances of the Raptors. Seven different players scored in two digits. Here is a quick look at what each of them did:
Norman Powell: Powell had 23 points in 9 of 11 shots and was 3 of 4 from the three-point range. He was the most consistent scorer in Toronto all night and seems not to have lost the pace since his return from an injury.
Pascal Siakam: Siakam finished with 21 points in 9 of 15 shots. Unlike the rust he showed from the second quarter of Sunday, Siakam seemed to have found his legs and was much more comfortable on Wednesday.
Making it look easy
– Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) January 16, 2020
OG Anunoby: Anunoby also had 21 points, but perhaps more impressive were the five assists and the five rebounds he collected on Wednesday. This was a good follow-up effort after a difficult start on Sunday against the San Antonio Spurs.
Kyle Lowry: Lowry had 17 points and eight assists, and seemed to freeze the game when he hit a decisive lay-up, driving right in the middle of the lane with 2:20 to play and then hit a jumper with 1:25 to play. Toronto a seven point mattress. This came after it seemed that the Raptors could fly what was a 30-point lead in the quarter.
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Yes, Lowry time
– Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) January 16, 2020
Serge Ibaka: Ibaka finished with 15 points in shots of 7 by 11, but his best result came in the first frame when he had 13 points in perfect shots of 6 by 6.
Marc Gasol: Gasol was excellent in his first game back from an injury, scoring 15 points while delivering five dimes. It seems that leisure time worked wonders for Gasol, as he seemed committed, full of energy and aggressive with his shot, something that will surely be music to the ears of Raptors fans.
Terence Davis: Davis had 12 points and seven rebounds on Wednesday. His greatest moment in the game came in the third quarter when he hit a triple near the end of the third quarter to help the Raptors maintain their leadership while threatening the Thunder.
A story of two halves
The Raptors led Wednesday’s game by up to 30 points, but almost saw that advantage evaporated in the last quarter.
Toronto started the game very strong, scoring 38 points in the first quarter with almost 70 percent of shots before finishing the first half with a 73-55 lead.
In the third quarter, the Raptors became careless with the ball, spinning it seven times, which allowed OKC to return to the game and enter the room only 14.
Then, in the final period, it was the Raptors’ defense that disappointed them, since they allowed the Thunder to put in a proper 38-point frame and saw that the 30-point gap narrowed to just three points with 2:09 on the left to play.
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It was great entertainment with the game that went from being a laugh to biting your nails on the stretch, but this should still be worrying for Toronto, as it is becoming a trend for the team.
If OKC had managed to complete the return, this would have been the third time in four games in which the Raptors had lost an advantage in the fourth quarter.
The other two games in question are those of the Portland Trail Blazers last week and Sunday’s game against the San Antonio Spurs. In each of those clashes, it was thought that the main point of discussion for the Raptors was their poor fourth quarter offense. However, this growing problem of poor play in the final draw may have more to do with the defense of the Raptors.
The offense was fine on Wednesday, but the Raptors allowed OKC to score 33 points in the last quarter, something very similar to 32 and 36 points, respectively, in the fourth that the Blazers and Spurs had recently against the Raptors.
SGA stays warm
It wasn’t the 20-20-10 double double triple masterpiece of his previous game, nor was it a 32-point performance like the one he had in Toronto a few days before the calendar returned to 2020, but Canadian Shai Gilgeous-Alexander still He had a strong night against the Raptors on Wednesday.
The Hamilton native, Ontario, concluded his evening with 21 points, six rebounds and six assists while shooting 6 of 10 from the field and 2 of 2 from deep.
His free throws with 2:09 remaining in the game led the Thunder to three points and was instrumental so that the Thunder was once again in a position to possibly make a historic return, falling four dimes only in the last quarter.
Despite the strong exit, this seemed a relatively common line for Gilgeous-Alexander. Perhaps, the best compliment we can now give to the rising star while continuing its second year campaign.