Quick Reaction: Thunder 98, Raptors 97

OKC Thunder98Final
Box Score
97TOR Raptors

C-
O. Anunoby26 MIN, 6 PTS, 5 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 3-12 FG, 0-7 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 0 +/-

The absence of Siakam has changed OG’s role rather significantly. Far more often he is being asked to screen for the ball handler and is even being used as the roll man on occasion. All of it is a work in progress but he’s certainly being tested with new duties.

OG took too much off the table tonight. Defensively he was strong (and I’d argue the Raptors should have used him on SGA), but he missed wide open triples and struggled off the drive as well. If not for rebounding and put-backs he would have been a near zero on offence.

B
P. McCaw37 MIN, 13 PTS, 2 REB, 2 AST, 2 STL, 5-9 FG, 3-5 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, -10 +/-

While he wasn’t as consistently aggressive s he was against the Celtics, McCaw carried forward some momentum from his career night on Saturday. He shot with confidence, cut to open space, and swung the ball quickly. Overall there are a lot of fans that likely owe him an apology.

The downside tonight was his struggles in keeping SGA out of the paint. Far from perfect on that end with a difficult assignment. SGA got to wherever he wanted on the floor seemingly at will.

A
S. Ibaka34 MIN, 12 PTS, 14 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL, 5-11 FG, 2-4 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, 4 +/-

Steven Adams is a the type of player who can cause problems for Ibaka. He is big, strong, and loves to muscle people. Ibaka hitting a few threes helped to bring Adams out of the paint, which helped create additional offensive rebounding opportunities.

A-
K. Lowry39 MIN, 20 PTS, 3 REB, 5 AST, 1 STL, 6-13 FG, 2-6 3FG, 6-6 FT, 1 BLK, 6 TO, -3 +/-

Kyle Lowry is a top 2 point guard in the Eastern Conference this season and he ain’t second. He has a masterful control over the team on offence and sets a tone defensively with timely charges and high IQ deflections/steals. He is a beast and clearly belongs in the All Star Game for the sixth straight year despite missing time due to injury. It’s not even a question.

Give Lowry four random bench players and he’ll make a cohesive unit that wins it’s minutes. There are only a handful of players in the world who can raise the floor like that.

Only thing that slowed him down tonight even a little was foul trouble, getting his fourth on the night with just under 8 minutes remaining in the third quarter.

A+
F. VanVleet38 MIN, 20 PTS, 3 REB, 8 AST, 0 STL, 7-18 FG, 4-8 3FG, 2-2 FT, 1 BLK, 1 TO, 3 +/-

He was stable through the first half, but added aggressiveness once Lowry was in foul trouble. His work in the pick-and-roll with Boucher was a real weapon in the second half. Fred seemingly fills they gap in whatever way the Raptors require, and can do it without taking anything off the table.

A-
T. Davis27 MIN, 11 PTS, 6 REB, 3 AST, 2 STL, 4-8 FG, 3-6 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 5 +/-

Needed something extra from Davis tonight with OG struggling from the field and he stepped up in the second half. With the Raptors down 6 midway through the third quarter Davis drained a 3 from the wing, then stole the ball on the other end, and tied it with another 3 from the same spot. Davis is a heat check when he gets going and give the Raptors the exact spark they needed when coming from behind.

Finally had a rookie moment from Davis at the end of the fourth, who failed to foul early with the shot clock turned off and down 1. Although he wasn’t the only one, he was at the point of attack against SGA and had the opportunity.

B+
C. Boucher19 MIN, 9 PTS, 5 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 3-7 FG, 1-3 3FG, 2-2 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -4 +/-

Shortly after checking in during the second quarter Fred threw him an alley-oop that seemed far too high. Boucher put it down with relative ease. His feel around the rim and his ability to catch the ball while moving makes him a very dangerous roll man. And every once and awhile he will switch it up with a 3. He’s a legit rotation big.

B
O. Brissett18 MIN, 4 PTS, 1 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 2-4 FG, 0-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 2 +/-

A short-handed rotation once again gave Brissett the opportunity for real minutes, including an appearance at the end of the first quarter. In these short appearances he clearly has the look of an NBA player, albeit a raw one. Very exciting to see what he can become with the Raptors development history. Full of energy, reads the boards at a high level, and can switch across multiple positions defensively. At worst he is an RHJ level player, but if he can extend his offensive skills he could become a high level role player.

Feels like he overextended himself a little in what he was trying tonight (ex. Turnaround jumpers), but you have to like the confidence.

C
R. Hollis-Jefferson3 MIN, 2 PTS, 3 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 0-1 FG, 0-0 3FG, 2-2 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, -2 +/-

It’s unclear why the Raptors insist on letting RHJ get at least 1 or 2 post-up opportunities each game, but the results aren’t great. Thankfully he generally brings a lot else to the table in regards to rebounding and defence. A few time tonight he lost track of his man on switches which OKC promptly took advantage of with facilitators like SGA and Chris Paul.

C+
Nick Nurse

Nurse was angry for much of the game and livid at the end, including earning his league leading 8th technical foul on the season in the third quarter. While there was some questionable calls from officiating (although mostly just bad rather than biased in either direction), Nurse deserves some blame for the result tonight.

It was a gritty performance from a team on the second night of a back-to-back, but Nurse failed to adjust when SGA was dominating on the drive. He stuck with McCaw for too long despite being exploited. Once SGA got rolling it was tough to slow down the Thunder.

Things We Saw

  1. Was nice to see SGA get a nice round of applause when introduced at the start of the game. Always good when a Canadian returns to play on home court. Shai is a special talent and showed out tonight in dominant fashion. A star performance.
  2. The Thunder have a special talent for having dumb jerseys, and tonight was no exception. As a personal preference I hate the player names being below the number.
  3. Samson informs me that there will be no post-game recap pod for this one, so I am informing all of you of this fact.

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