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Thread: April 8 - Oklahoma City Thunder

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    Raptors Republic Hall of Famer mcHAPPY's Avatar
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    Default April 8 - Oklahoma City Thunder

    ESPN Preview:

    A three-game skid has cost the Oklahoma City Thunder their grip atop the Western Conference, but Kevin Durant knows it's no cause for alarm. After all, the losses were all close calls against stiff competition.

    A home game against a lesser opponent could help them get back on track.

    Durant and the Thunder try to avoid losing four consecutive games for the first time in three years Sunday night in their only matchup of the season with the Toronto Raptors.

    Following last Sunday's easy win over Chicago to pull within one game of the Bulls for the NBA's best record, Oklahoma City (40-15) has fallen to Memphis, Miami and Indiana. With Friday's 103-98 loss to the Pacers, coupled with San Antonio's win over New Orleans, the Thunder dropped percentage points back of the Spurs for the West's best record.

    "You can't panic," Durant said. "Three in a row is tough, especially late in the season, but you can't panic. We played hard all three games."

    Each of Oklahoma City's last three defeats have come by six points or less -- the last two were on the road -- and against teams among the league's top 10 record-wise. The Thunder haven't lost four straight since April 3-8, 2009 -- the end of their first season in Oklahoma City.

    Durant finished with 44 points on 15-of-24 shooting against Indiana, but Russell Westbrook wasn't nearly as efficient.

    Westbrook had 21 points but shot 7 for 23. The All-Star point guard is scoring 22.7 per game on 32.3 percent shooting during the losing streak after averaging 28.7 points and hitting 50.4 percent in the previous six games -- all wins.

    With Westbrook struggling, the Thunder, who are second in the league in scoring at 102.9 per game, have failed to reach triple digits in four straight. They're 11-10 when scoring fewer than 100, compared to 29-5 when hitting the century mark.

    Oklahoma City failed to score 100 in either of its two games against the Raptors last season and lost both. Toronto was the only East team to sweep the Thunder.

    The Raptors (20-36) have played sound defense in four games this month, yielding an average of 85.3 points while giving up no more than 92. They haven't had to face the toughest offenses, however, with contests against Washington, Charlotte, Philadelphia and Cleveland.

    Toronto might not have as much luck in Oklahoma City, where the Thunder are 23-5. The Raptors have dropped six of eight on the road against teams with winning records.

    They entered Friday riding a season-best three-game winning streak and looked like they would earn another victory, but were outscored 33-17 in the fourth quarter of an 84-80 loss to the Cavaliers.

    Andrea Bargnani had 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting in the first quarter but missed 13 of 15 shots thereafter. He finished with 19 points, while DeMar DeRozan led Toronto with 28.

    The Raptors hope point guard Jose Calderon returns after he sat out with a swollen right eye. With small forward James Johnson also held out, Toronto started two players from the NBA Development League versus Cleveland.

    Johnson has dressed but not played in the last two games after starting 38 of the previous 40, averaging 10.4 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.4 blocks. Coach Dwane Casey wouldn't identify why Johnson didn't see action.

    "He'll be available to play (Sunday), he was available to play (Friday)," Casey said. "We chose as a staff not to play him. We're going build the program the right way, we're going to do things the right way, and we'll go from there."
    Key to game: hold Thunder under 100. The Raptors have been doing this of late but hardly against competition like OKC.

    Thunder are probably coming out HUNGRY.

    JJ should be able to play today. I'd still love to know what "We're going build the program the right way, we're going to do things the right way, and we'll go from there" is all about.

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    Raptors Republic Superstar planetmars's Avatar
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    I'd love to see the Raptors win today despite the 'tank' because they are going against an elite team.

    However a streak is on the line, and the Raptors are infamous for helping break streaks. OKC should win this one since they are coming in with a 3 game losing streak (unfortunately).

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    Raptors Republic All-Star Jclaw's Avatar
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    hey there tank nation. i'm not part of you but i just turned the game on with the score 58-55 and maybe brought on the 24-0 run. I've turned it off now. enjoy

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    The tank runs strong- not a great game for OKC, as if it wasit for that near magical streak of raptors missing open looks they could of easily made it a game.

    But wow...that Durant no-call/offensive foul was not fit..

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    Quote Jclaw wrote: View Post
    hey there tank nation. i'm not part of you but i just turned the game on with the score 58-55 and maybe brought on the 24-0 run. I've turned it off now. enjoy
    Lol

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    We can still hope for the 4th worst record. We won't catch Charlotte, Washington, or New Orleans ... but we can catch the others. We have tough games coming up...only 9 left

    Indiana
    Sixers
    Celtics
    Atlanta
    Atlanta
    Miami
    Detroit
    Bucks
    Nets

    I don't see us winning Indiana, Sixers, Celtics, Atlanta, Atlanta, or Miami. We will hopefully lost the next seven games. Detroit is a 50/50 chance. Let's hope that the Bucks will still be fighting for a playoff spot and then we should lose that game. The game against the Nets will be another full out tanking war. Hopefully we will go 2-8 with the only wins against Detroit and New Jersey. That may put up back into the 4th worst.

    Your Thoughts?

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    we passed nj tonight in the tank rankings

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    Raptors Republic Veteran ceez's Avatar
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    I'm all for them finishing in the bottom 4 but i'd REALLY like to see them curb stomp the Heat.

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    Quote ceez wrote: View Post
    I'm all for them finishing in the bottom 4 but i'd REALLY like to see them curb stomp the Heat.

    Wouldnt we all love to see that.

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    Raptors Republic All-Star Miekenstien's Avatar
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    Quote bounty wrote: View Post
    we passed nj tonight in the tank rankings
    great i like finishing 3rd to 6th last best. dont want to fall out of the top ten so if our players are off the board a trade down becomes a good option and it seems like if we had a top 6 pick we would get one of the players we crave.

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    But you gotta remember NJ is going hardcore tanking with taking Lopez out for the season. Tank is going to need to be running at top performance....too late to get Butler back?

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    Did bargs get hurt tonight? Tank nation full steam ahead, shut him down and let the young guys have their minutes.

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    Quote RNsteve wrote: View Post
    But you gotta remember NJ is going hardcore tanking with taking Lopez out for the season. Tank is going to need to be running at top performance....too late to get Butler back?

    Raps going to take out bargs aswell don't think they are taking any chances of aggravating his calf. Wink Wink Tanking
    Last edited by bounty; Mon Apr 9th, 2012 at 12:20 AM.

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    Raptors Republic Superstar Chr1s1anL's Avatar
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    wow if this all the forum is going to be about till draft. I don't think I'll be posting much stuff.
    @Chr1st1anL

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    Quote Chr1s1anL wrote: View Post
    wow if this all the forum is going to be about till draft. I don't think I'll be posting much stuff.
    If theres something that you want to talk about then i suggest you start a thread hope that helps.
    Last edited by bounty; Mon Apr 9th, 2012 at 01:09 AM.

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    Quote ceez wrote: View Post
    I'm all for them finishing in the bottom 4 but i'd REALLY like to see them curb stomp the Heat.
    American History X style?

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    Raptors Republic Starter AJ360's Avatar
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    Quote Matt52 wrote: View Post
    American History X style?
    He said curb stomp, not curb smiley :-)

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    There was not much to be pleased about with this game.

    The only positive I can find is the defense.

    OKC is the best offensive team in the league and they also have the highest shooting %.

    The Raptors held them to 91 points and 41.7% shooting.

    And that is where the positives end.......

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    Raptors Republic All-Star Balls of Steel's Avatar
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    Actually, to me that's a huge positive. This team continues to fight and there's 9 games left. Oh and we have like 3 D-leaguers and AB is perhaps gone for the year. I didn't watch the game but when the radio was on, it was 55-58. They shut down one of the most potent offenses in the league. Playing hard defense in the first half caught on with them in the second half. Like I said, I don't mind losses like this. Of course, there's tank nation but I'm also interested in BCs plan with all that money for free agents.
    “The saving of our world from pending doom will come, not through the complacent adjustment of the conforming majority, but through the creative maladjustment of a nonconforming minority.” - Martin Luther King

  20. #20
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    Alan Anderson was playing in China this season and before that he was in Europe. He has a 10 day contract but is not a D leaguer.

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