Season Series: Raptors 1-0
The Toronto Raptors notched one of their biggest road victories of the season when they defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 104-98 back in December. On Friday night, the Thunder are in town to try to get a season split against the Raptors.
Toronto’s win in Oklahoma City was the Thunder’s first home loss of the season and snapped a 13-game home winning streak. Kyle Lowry had 22 points, nine assists and seven rebounds for the Raptors, while Amir Johnson added 17 points and 13 rebounds. DeMar DeRozan and Kevin Durant both struggled from the floor in that contest, with DeRozan shooting 7-for-20 and scoring 17 points and Durant finishing an uncharacteristic 5-for-16 for his 24 points.
Back at the ACC after pulling out a 107-100 come-from-behind win against the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday night, the Raptors could be without Jonas Valanciunas. Valanciunas missed the game against the Pelicans after suffering a back sprain during Tuesdayovertime loss in Atlanta and is listed as a game-time decision against the Thunder.
What To Watch
Russell Westbrook in uniform: Russell Westbrook had been on a minute restriction since returning to action from knee surgery in February. To ensure he is rested and healthy come postseason time, the Thunder recently made the decision to rest him on back-to-back game situations. Having played against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday night, Oklahoma City’s game against the Raptors is their second game in two nights, but the Thunder opted to sit Westbrook in Cleveland and have him available in uniform against Toronto.
Free throw city: DeMar DeRozan has been racking up free throw attempts in 2014 and is getting to the line with ease this season. DeRozan is averaging 7.8 free throw attempts per game, good for seventh in the league. The player leading the NBA in attempts per game? Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant. Durant is averaging a cool 10 attempts per game while shooting 87 percent from the line. He’s also the league’s scoring leader, averaging 31.9 points per contest.
Amir Johnson’s 500th career game: While Amir Johnson is still only 26 years old, as the last player drafted directly from high school, he has nine years of NBA experience under his belt. Friday’s game against the Thunder will be his 500th career game. It’s the second milestone for Johnson this month, after moving into third place on the Raptors all-time block list with 408 rejections.
– “It’s just toughness. We’ve got resilient guys in here; we’ve got professional guys who all they want to do is win games. We’re all in the situation now where some guys haven’t been to the playoffs like me and Chuck [Hayes], and then you’ve got guys who’ve never been to the playoffs like DeMar [DeRozan] and the young guys. We’re in a situation where we want to keep pushing it and keep grinding to make our team better.” – Kyle Lowry on Toronto’s ability to stay in games after rough starts
– “It was a moment where our team was down a few players, the trade had just happened, we stepped up and we won that as a team. It was a big character moment of where the team is, how we carried ourselves and that’s how it’s going to have to be tonight, a team effort.” – Amir Johnson on Toronto’s win against the Thunder in Oklahoma City
“We can’t overreact to Durant scoring. He’s scoring on everybody, some of the best defenders in the league. I had the fortune of going against him in conference finals a few years ago. He’s going to score. What we’ve got to do is make him work and earn every point he makes. We can’t allow a guy like [Derek] Fisher, a guy like [Serge] Ibaka to have a career night. We’ve got to make them work and earn every point.” – Dwane Casey on dealing with Kevin Durant
Raptors: Kyle Lowry (G), DeMar DeRozan (G), Terrence Ross (F), Amir Johnson (F), Jonas Valanciunas (C)
Raptors: Patrick Patterson – right ulnar collateral sprain (out), Jonas Valanciunas – sprained lower back (questionable)
Thunder: Kendrick Perkins – left groin strain (out), Thabo Sefolosha – left calf strain (out)
By The Numbers: Raptors vs. Thunder
|2013-14 AVERAGES||2013-14 RANKINGS|
Last Time They Met: Raptors 104, Thunder 98 - Dec. 22nd, 2013