Thunder shocks the Raptors in a blowout loss.

Toronto loses in a blowout to the OKC Thunder.

Last night was supposed to be a routine victory for the Toronto Raptors who were on a road trip to Oklahoma City to face the Thunder. Coming off a hard fought victory against the Houston Rockets, this game was expected to be much less dramatic than the Rockets game but OKC had a surprise for everyone. You could tell from the opening tip that the OKC Thunder just had it last night. Lu Dort who shoots 23% from three hit three triples in the opening quarter to start things off. The Raptors also did a fine job of limiting Thunder star Shai Gilgeuos-Alexander but it’s what happened after they collapsed on him that was the problem. Tonight also magnified the effects of missing Precious Achiuwa and Pascal Siakam who are really good at deterring drives and stopping those drives if they get to the rim. This game wasn’t out of hand until the second quarter. The first quarter was like a back and forth battle, the Thunder were up but Toronto was still well within punching distance. 

The big thing that stood out this game was just how many tough looks Toronto had to settle for. Without their number one advantage creator in Pascal and a somewhat subpar performance from Fred VanVleet, the Raptors really didn’t have much to turn to last night. Also the drawback of their defensive game plan against stars has always been the possibility of the Star players teammates being able to keep and capitalize on the advantages created by all the attention the star gets and that is what happened last night with Shai. A staggering 8 OKC players finished the night in double figures, compared to 5 on Toronto’s end and a lot of that came through OKC finishing plays well. Another part of that was the good night that second year player Josh Giddey had. Giddey finished with 15 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists, and he was a huge spark that OKC needed to keep the lead all night. Even with all this defensive attention, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander still managed to pour in 20 points which led his team last night.

On a more positive note we got to see Malachi Flynn have some nice flashes last night, albeit in garbage time, Flynn poured in all of his 12 points in the 4th quarter and he hit 3 threes mostly catch and shoot which for the biggest optimists is a sight worth beholding. We also got a great game from Chris Boucher who gave us 20 points and 12 rebounds with 8 made free throws. Going to need his production off the bench to hold it down while Pascal Siakam is recovering currently.

With Pascal Siakam being out with injury there are going to be nights like this where offense is really hard to come by. Fred VanVleet can’t be superman every night as much as we’d like him to be, the defense can’t stop teams from scoring forever as much as we’d like it to. Without Pascal there are just going to be some nights where you get outmatched, which is normal for a team without their best player so this isn’t any cause for panic. The Raptors face the Indiana Pacers tonight so once again a fairly easy opponent on the schedule for them. The Raptors just need to regroup and refocus and tread water while Pascal Siakam is out. Hopefully we continue to see OG dominate on defense, Scottie blossom as a playmaker, Boucher be that wonderful bench scorer that he is, and Fred torch teams with his amazing shooting.

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