Ugly, ugly game. The picture above was floating around Twitter and I believe it originated from GIF-master @jose3030, but if it didn’t please bring it to my attention so I can give proper credit. Below is my At The Buzzer for the Daily Dime, followed by the post-game.
MVP Russell Westbrook. Tough to pick one with so much garbage time played, but he had 19 points and eight assists while it was still a contest. We were robbed of a Westbrook-Lowry battle.
That was… That was…painful. Lowry tried to gather the ball after an OKC bucket and his right foot landed on Perkins, resulting in a badly rolled ankle. Lowry is day-to-day.
X-Factor Thabo Sefolosha. While his 11 points may not stand out, he hit three threes in short order during a 13-6 first quarter run to help establish early control for the Thunder.
LVP DeMar DeRozan. He couldn’t get anything going against Thabo, finishing 2-for-10. He had one nice take against Durant when KD had two fouls early, but proceeded to try and shoot over him instead of attacking.
Defining Moment With 1:30 to go in the second quarter, Lowry injured his ankle. While the Thunder lead by 18 at the time, it essentially sealed the victory by removing the Raptors’ spark plug.
Well, if you haven’t heard yet, the Raptors were getting hammered by the Thunder late in the first half when Kyle Lowry tried to corral the ball after a play, landed on Perkins’ foot and rolled his right ankle. Reports are he could play tonight at Dallas, but I don’t have confirmation on that yet. Even though the Raptors were down by 18 at the time, it essentially signaled the end of the contest, as Lowry seems to the be the Raptors’ engine at this early point in the season.
From there, the game devolved into defense-less basket trading and garbage time. One the one hand, it’s probably best that if the Raptors were going to lose, it was determined early, so they could rest their key players for tonight in Dallas. However, when your “key players” have you behind to the Thunder down early, when Kevin Durant isn’t yet asserting himself, maybe it doesn’t matter. I don’t want to be too negative since the Thunder are a strong team, but this was a pretty mediocre effort all around, with and without Lowry.
The wing play was pretty disappointing with one exception. DeMar DeRozan went 2-for-10 and struggled with Thabo, who is a great defender, and Durant when he was switched onto him. It was maddening to see DeMar successfully take the ball to the rack against Durant, who had two fouls, successfully and then on the next trip try to shoot a long jumper over him. It was also another rough one for Fields, who shot 1-for-6 but at least had a dunk. Nobody can really guard Durant, so you can’t fault him for getting beat, but Durant did make him look especially bad on one first-half cross-over. And finally, it was a tough game for Double-A, who can’t afford to shoot himself out of a role the way he tried to do in this one (1-for-6, 0-for-5 on threes).
Terrence Ross looked good, at least, though his performance comes with with the garbage time caveat. Ross got his biggest chance of the season, checking in late in the third with the game out of hand. He immediately found Davis on a transition 4-on-1 and then operated a nice give-and-go with Lucas on a 2-on-1. Overall he had 10 points on seven shots, showing off his transition ability and three-point shot. Dominic McGuire got some run early to help on Durant and finished with 15 minutes thanks to some additional garbage time. He had 6-and-4, but his highlight was getting stripped by Durant on a post-up, leading to an easy transition opportunity.
It was another ho-hum game for Andrea Bargnani, who had 16 points but took 15 shots to get there. At least he added six rebounds in his 25 minutes, though he was also partially responsible for Ibaka shooting 8-of-9. Amir was less impressive and played just eight minutes as he picked up four fouls quickly. It might be for the better, as they’ll be well rested for tomorrow night’s game, and they probably couldn’t have done much to save this one, unless Bargs had gone gang-busters from the start.
The lone, non-garbage time bright spot was that Jonas looked strong offensively. He didn’t have to do much on defense against Perkins, Thabeet and the like, but had a few buckets while the game still mattered and asserted himself in garbage time. He finished with 18 points on just eight attempts and added six boards.
Ed Davis looked solid and had a nice hard foul on Thabeet late, possibly out of frustration but possibly also trying to let Casey know he can play tough. Ed had 6-and-9 but picked up five fouls in just 21 minutes. Aaron Gray didn’t see the floor until late since the Thunder don’t have any bulky interior scoring threats.
Jose Calderon is too good a person for schadenfreude so his eyes didn’t light up when Lowry went down. Jose’s shot wasn’t dropping but he took advantage of some careless OKC play by grabbing four steals. Meanwhile, John Lucas was 1-for-9 and 1-for-6 on threes, probably making everyone who was sold on him as the PG2 in the preseason breath a sigh of relief that Lowry seems okay. Scorers have games like this.
This post-game has been a bit disjointed, for one because Arse and I accidentally doubled up on the quick reaction and I converted mine to this (hence the player-by-player format), and two because once Lowry went down I paid less attention, both out of apathy and to check in on the election. The Raptors get another shot at it tonight against the Mavs.