Beyond decimation

Technically, if your forces are decimated, they’ve been reduced by 10 percent, though contemporary usage suggests something much worse — say, 53.3 percent, which is where you are when you have 15 players and only seven are able to play. The Thunder have reached that unhappy point, losing Perry Jones to a knee contusion early in the second half, and their one-point lead at halftime turned into a 14-point deficit halfway through the fourth quarter. Toronto’s Raptors are nothing if not opportunistic — it’s no accident they get to the foul line more than any other team in the league — and they had plenty of opportunities tonight. The Thunder managed to cut that lead to seven a couple of times, and then wound up with six players when Sebastian Telfair drew a flagrant-two at the expense of Tyler Hansbrough’s face. What’s the next step beyond decimated? Toronto 100, Oklahoma City 88, and if the Thunder isn’t exactly on pace for 3-29 by New Year’s Eve, they’re getting closer every game.

And this, mind you, despite shooting well from the floor: 52 percent — the Raptors managed 40 — and while 6-21 from outside isn’t great, the Raps were 8-31, which is worse. You can account for most of the 12-point loss, though, by looking at the foul line, where OKC missed 11 of 25 shots. (Toronto flubbed only four out of 33.) There were even double-doubles: Reggie Jackson had 13 points and 14 assists, while Serge Ibaka had 25 points and 11 rebounds. In fact, everybody scored except Perk; but “everybody” doesn’t mean what it used to mean.

The Raptors spread the scoring around with five in double figures — one less than OKC — led by DeMar DeRozen, who punched in 16. And they gave up ten turnovers, which is a lot for them. Then again, the Thunder coughed it up 21 times, which unfortunately isn’t a lot for them these days.

Three days until the Grizzlies come to town. I’m not taking any bets on how many players will actually be able to suit up for that massacre. (The Griz have won four straight.) At the present rate, Ibaka, who played almost 46 minutes tonight, will probably have to fill at least three positions by himself.





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