For a while, it was close. Late in the third quarter, it was OKC 58, Toronto 55, and Scott Brooks hadn’t quite figured out how to put away the Raptors. He needn’t have worried: the Thunder ran up 12 unanswered points to close the quarter, and twelve more to start the fourth. By then it was 82-55, and finally DeMar DeRozan stopped DeBleeding. The Raptors didn’t give up, but Brooks, noting that the 22-0 run was pulled off mostly by the second unit, opted to rest the starters, except for Thabo Sefolosha, in the fourth quarter, and the Thunder ultimately dispatched Toronto, 91-75.
Part of Toronto’s problem was losing Andrea Bargnani early to a calf strain; he’d gotten seven points and five rebounds in 13 minutes before exiting. However, José Calderón and Gary Forbes, both announced as day-to-day, were able to play. (Calderón led all Toronto scorers with 19; Forbes led the bench with eight.) And the Raptors outrebounded the Thunder 43-42, though offensive-glass grabs were even at 11.
With fewer minutes to work with — only Kevin Durant played even 30 — the big Thunder scorers did not score big: Durant had 23, James Harden 17, Russell Westbrook 15. You want numbers, look at Nick Collison: six points, three steals, nine rebounds (seven offensive). As glue guys go, he’s the real thing: 100 percent organic mucilage.
In this abbreviated season, we’re not seeing much of the East: this is the only matchup with Toronto this year. Tomorrow, a trip to Milwaukee to see if the Deer merit fear, and that’s it for cross-conference play: the last nine games will be against Western foes, including two against the Clippers and three against the Kings. (Season ends on the 25th with a visit from the Nuggets.)