For several years running, Air Canada Arena has been absolute quicksand to the Oklahoma City Thunder: they’d lose their footing early, and by the time they figured out what had happened to them, the Raptors had long since put them away. And I was preparing for that same scenario today: comeback kid Alan Anderson, discarded by the league after 2007, bouncing between Europe and the D-League, then retrieved by Toronto last year, put up 19 points in nine minutes in the second quarter, and the Thunder, up two at the half, were breathing sighs of relief that at least they were up two.
After that, the Thunder remembered that they had a defense, and deployed it well enough to keep Toronto from making a run at them in the second half. Anderson would still nail a career high — a reverse layup in the waning moment gave him 27 points — but OKC sent their losing streak at Air Canada into extinction, clobbering the Raptors 104-92.
In addition to Alan’s sterling work, the Raptors can boast of an excellent showing by Amir Johnson, who scored 19 and pulled down nine boards. Jose Calderón, starting at the point, was good for ten points and 11 assists. DeMar DeRozen, however, was DeRailed early, and while he did manage 11 points, it took him 16 shots to get there.
We’re seeing more of the Good Russell Westbrook these days, which is always a boon: this time he went 8-17 for 23 points. Kevin Durant semi-serenely swished in 22, though he had a hissy fit in the fourth quarter that earned him a T. And some of the non-shooters did some serious shooting: Serge Ibaka went 8-12 from the floor to go with eight boards and two blocks, and Nick Collison went 5-7 from the floor for 10 points to go with eight boards.
Next up: the Wizards Monday evening in the District of Columbia, which by law doesn’t allow anyone to shoot anything. But the schedule gets complicated after that: only three more home games in the month — Timberwolves, Nuggets and Grizzlies, not an easy-peasy match in the bunch — and eight games on the road, including three trips to the Staples Center (Lakers twice, Clippers once). Hatches should submit themselves for battening.