Toronto wallops Oklahoma City to reach a season-high 7-game win streak

Toronto finally proves that it can beat bad teams without grinding its starters down to a sweaty pulp...kind of.

10 mins read
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - FEBRUARY 9: Theo Maledon #11 of the Oklahoma City Thunder drives to the basket during the game against the Toronto Raptors on February 9, 2022 at Paycom Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images)

I’ll keep it pithy.

Who’re we kidding? We could talk about an Oklahoma City game in February orrrrr we could talk about being hours away from one of the most DRAMATIC days in the NBA calendar.

My goodness, I’m paralyzed on deadline day. My two fingers only capable of scrolling and clicking reload. That’s it. Rest of me is frozen in anticipation.

It’s a wonder in and of itself. I mean, how often (don’t answer that because there’s probably plenty of examples) do you have a cadre of people whizzing and whirling (whizzing are the analytics department, whirling the film jockeys) and researching and phoning and offering and countering and it’s a deal-ing all over a continent, at the exact same time, that so profoundly impacts a third party with ZERO control in the chaotic process?

Wild stuff. I’m here for the drama.

Speaking of, Woj silently squashing Brian Windhorst’s attempt at reporting stuff was top reality NBA media.

For those of you who don’t know or don’t care (I don’t care that you don’t care, you’ll love it), Windy, as his colleagues like to call the ESPN goblin, reports that Philadelphia and Brooklyn are in extensive trade talks involving James Harden and Ben Simmons:

Couple hours later, Woj drops a Woj Bunker Buster:

Lol. Which is obviously totally not true. Woj is just being someone’s mouthpiece, I guess?

It’s just going to get juicier and juicier tomorrow. Can’t wait.

Anyway, the Oklahoma City game last night.

It’s nice to, finally, be the fan of a team who can just waltz into another team’s home arena and only half give a shit while playing and turn it on when they need to and secure a win.

Honestly, wasn’t ever expecting this team to do that this season. Based on all the other games we’ve watched, Toronto loves to take things to the wire with crud teams. It’s kinda becoming their modus operandi. In fact, last time OKC and Toronto played – granted, SGA and THE MOOSE were dressed – it literally went down to the last shot that didn’t count.

This game looked like one of those exhibition games where the Division 3 team takes a crack at Division 1 team and the Division 1 team had beers before and during and still kind of just kicks the Division 3 team’s ass. That was what this game was like.

Right from the get go, Toronto asserted its Division 1 mentality.

1st possession: OG walks Josh Giddey down to the post and bashes down his gates for an easy lay-in.

2nd possession: OG goes at Giddey at the top of the circle, literally, does the laziest cross over possibly ever and goes right by Giddey kicking it out for a swing and then a missed Gary 3.

3rd possession: Freddy does this to the poor bugga:

A few possessions later, more OG battering Giddey:

The Raps finished the quarter 34-22. Half of those points were compliments of Pascal Siakam who continues to torch teams like Smaug. I’d embellish further, but I’d just be repeating myself. This is the norm now. Pascal just scores wherever, whenever, against whomever. He’s never played this well, ever. Nor looked so comfortable doing it. I’d go on, but Tuesday was apparently Pascal Siakam day at Raptors Republic:

Samson, Lou, Manny, and Samson (#2) each wrote excellent glowing pieces on Pascal Siakam’s rising powers. So, I’ll refrain from further praise, only to say: that dude deserves Cleveland so much more than…many other people. Pascal had 20 & 10 by the 10-minute mark of the 3rd quarter (my over bet on 21.5 points from Pascal was the easiest wager I’ve possibly ever made).

Then, the Raps got bored. They stopped hunting mismatches, being decisive, and ripping the ball around, and instead relied on really uneventful iso-ball. Scottie, Precious, and Gary each had a poor possession or two.

Luckily, whenever things grounded to a halt, Freddy (11 of his 21 were in the 3rd) or Pascal were there to rectify things. We have to quickly talk about, Freddy’s 3-point shooting. It’s getting ridiculous. He shot 6/16, which is good on its own accord. Factor in the Stephish degree of difficulty (Freddy is 2nd to Steph in above-the-break 3s) and it makes it all the more wondrous:

Otherwise, I observed a team lacking intensity as a collective – I don’t blame them. They had six fouls in the 1st quarter, allowed a butt-tonne of transition points in the 2nd, and committed 10 of their 16 fouls in the 1st half – all indicators of an uninspired team.

Ty Jerome got hot for a quick sec and OKC won the 2nd quarter by 4. It was, indeed, a hot sec, OKC ended up 14/47 from three. And while Toronto did turn up the defence, they were fortunate that the Thunder shot blanks most of the night.

That was the kind of night it was for Toronto, sober up for like 5 minutes, do stuff like this:

go on an 8-point run, lock in defensively, and then go back to meandering for another 4 minutes. When the Raps were quick and decisive, they were unstoppable. Flibble around with the ball too long and their disinterest reared its ugly head.

The shame in all of that is our decrepit bench didn’t get an opportunity to shake off their cobwebs and rattle their bones until 1:47 left in the 4th quarter.

Other Notes:

  • I am obsessed with . He’s a 7-foot guard. Not just in theory. You watch him move and everything about his body mechanics suggest guard. His hips are low so he’s not all stilty and tilty like Scottie can sometimes look. He moves quite elegantly actually. He’s got a tonne of problems with his game, but he showed up last night. 18 points | 4/5 from 3 | 4 steals. Like Oren said on the Rap Up last night, OKC is doing him a huge disservice not shoving him in the G-League or letting him play back-up point. He’s not a 3 & D dude so quit jamming him into the corner like he is. Problem is, you have a glut of guys you want holding the ball. Poku’s the odd man out.
  • FREE DORT. I begged on Tuesday: GIVE ME DORT. He’s valuable. I doubt Toronto can do it. BUT I WANT DORT. NASA radioed in halfway through the game to notify authorities that the sprinting refrigerator who keeps chucking 3s is scraping the bottom of the International Space Station. And would he kindly refrain from taking any further moonshots.
  • Loving the defensive line-up of Banton, Boucher, Precious, Pascal, OG. They ran a 1-3-1 half-court and OKC scored, but when they all raised their arms it looked like the security room in a Museum holding the world’s biggest diamond scanning for intruders.
  • Malachi Flynn’s one play was demanding a Khem screen and then pulling up for a brick from 3, woof.
  • Yuta made a quick appearance and played well scoring a quick 4 points on a funky one-handed runner and a nice rip-and-go finger-roll at the tin:

  • Cheeky Matt Devlin with the quote of the night: “It’s one thing to get those numbers [as a rookie] on a losing team it’s another to get it on a winning one”. Cold, Matty D, cold.

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