“We compete, we fight, we did a lot of good things,” Calderon said. “But against this team we cannot make one turnover, you make a mistake you’re going to pay for that. I think every little mistake we made tonight it turned into a basket or a foul or something.
Kevin Durant may not have the brute strength and shocking power of a LeBron James or the outward intensity and drive of a Kobe Bryant but there aren’t a handful of people on the planet who can do what he does on the basketball court and the one memorable play of a Sunday afternoon at the Air Canada Centre was his.
Alan Anderson; the man with a veterans minimum salary, who was in the D-League just last season, was the best player in today’s game. Not just on the Raptors, but on either team. He was on fire right off the bat, recording 17 points in his first 9 minutes. The Raptors were a visibly better team with him on the court, and he wasn’t just scoring, but creating opportunities for teammates and playing tough defense as well.
I’m pretty sure “guys that usually don’t make shots make shots on us” fits pretty well with Alan Anderson scoring 19 points on 7-8 shooting in the second quarter. But like KD said, being ready for that and responding to it is the key. A lot of teams, or players, can have a guy get hot for a quarter, or two. It’s rare though that someone has the horses to stay hot for four quarters. Because the Thunder do. Between Durant, Westbrook, Martin and sometimes Ibaka, OKC has the firepower to withstand hot shooting stretches and eventually wear down an opponent. Most times.
Sometimes, an amazing performance from one player can carry a team. But most of the time, it can’t. Despite the fantastic 19 point second quarter of Alan Anderson and the good first half from Amir Johnson, the rest of the Raptors were a slow dud. The second half was basically watching them slowly lose grip on the game, aside from a meaningless garbage time run.
Dwane Casey’s rotations in this game left something to be desired, especially with respect to how he handled the point guard situation. I was fine with Jose Calderon earning the starting spot, but this team has two quality point men for a reason, and if the starter isn’t up to the task, Casey shouldn’t hesitate to use a quick hook.
Westbrook cut through the heart of the Raptors defence at will and was a terror at the other end in a 23-point, seven-assist, four-steal outing. “You can’t get into a rat race with this team, especially with one of the fastest guys in the league, because he’s going to come right back at you,” Toronto’s coach said.
“I don’t really know how the hockey thing works, how much players get paid or things like that, but I’m pretty sure when somebody loses their job or is out of work it hurts,” he said.
After the game, Casey said the Thunder kept Toronto on their heels for the quarter as they extended a two-point halftime lead to 11 going into the fourth quarter. In the final quarter, the Raptors wouldn’t get closer than nine and trailed by as many as 21 before trimming the deficit to 12 in garbage time.
Not even the highlights in Leo Rautins’ hair can help him sell this as actual punditry. Yes, Leo, teams do tend to allow fewer points when they win games. This is groundbreaking statistical work that everybody needs to hear.