OKLAHOMA CITY —
But it was the Thunder’s defense that provided the biggest spark. They forced the Raptors into 33-percent shooting from the field in the first half as they jumped out to a 33-17 advantage early in second quarter.
“The Thunder had something to do with that,” Casey said. “They were a different team tonight than they were Sunday night. And we knew that. We knew they were going to come out aggressive, focused. And we had to meet that type of intensity, and we didn’t. That was disappointing for a young team.”
The Raptors tried to go to Kyle Lowry to break the team out of its cold shooting spell. But the combination of Westbrook and Eric Manor locked down Toronto’s leading scorer on the season. He was held to 2 points and didn’t play in the second half after spraining his ankle.
The loss of Lowry was a major blow to any chances the Raptors had of making a comeback.
Toronto tried to ride Valanciunas back into the game. But that wasn’t enough to contend with a Thunder squad that was hitting on all cylinders.
Oklahoma City increased its lead in the third quarter as it continued to spread the ball around. They finished the night with 24 assists. Their season high is 27.
“We started the game off with a lot of intensity,” Durant said. “That’s what we need every game from here on out. We fed off our crowd, the bench was up and excited. Guys were moving the basketball and helping each other on defense.”’
Michael KinneyFollow me @firstname.lastname@example.org