Oklahoma City Thunder (38-29, 13-20 away) vs. Toronto Raptors (39-28, 22-11 home)
Thursday, March 16 :: 6:00 p.m. CST :: Air Canada Centre (19,800)
TV: FS Oklahoma (DirectTV 676-5, Cox 37, HD 722, Tulsa Cox 27, U-Verse 751/1751 HD)
Online Stream: here.
Radio: WWLS Sports Animal 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemy: Here.
Line: Oklahoma City is a 2½-point underdog favorite. O/U is 207.
Notes: Thunder: here | Raptors: here
SETTING THE SCENE
- The Thunder have fully recovered from their four-game losing streak and are breathing down the necks of the once untouchable Los Angeles Clippers.
- Oklahoma City has to take care of business tonight in Toronto as they head north of the border to play the Raptors.
- Oklahoma City and Toronto have met once this year with Toronto winning back in early November.
- The Raptors who are only 6-4 in their last 10 games, are trying to figure things out again. They’ve lost three of their last five.
FOLLOWING THE ACTION
- You can catch the radio on Oklahoma City’s WWLS, 98.1 FM. Matt Pinto will be your play-by-play voice. If you’re in Tulsa, catch it on 1450 AM.
- Brian Davis and Michael Cage call the game on the Thunder’s flagship station, Fox Sports Oklahoma. You can watch the game there, catch it on NBA League Pass, or use the Fox Sports App (If you’re in Oklahoma).
WIN OVER THE NETS HIGHLIGHTS
- The teams were even in the first half but Oklahoma City outscored Brooklyn 60-42 in the second half to secure the road victory.
- With the win, OKC secured a third straight win.
- Russell Westbrook recorded his 33rd triple-double of the season, and third consecutive.
- Victor Oladipo also scored 12 points in the second half, finishing with 21 points, his third consecutive game with 20+ points.
- Oklahoma City tallied 22 second-chance points to the Nets nine.
SCOUTING THE RAPTORS
- The Toronto Raptors are 39-28 on the season, fourth in the Eastern Conference.
- The Raptors are 6-4 in their last 10 games.
- Oklahoma City is 9-7 all-time vs. the Raptors in the Thunder era.
- When on the road, Oklahoma City is 4-3 all-time at Toronto.
- Oklahoma City lost to the Raptors 112-102 on Nov. 9.
- Kyle Lowry (wrist) is out.
- DeMarre Carroll (ankle) is a game-time decision.
- The Thunder’s largest margin of victory over Toronto came on March 9, 2010, where Oklahoma City prevailed by a score of 115-89 (26-point margin of victory).
- Meanwhile, the Thunder’s largest margin of defeat (16 points) vs. Toronto occurred during a 96-112 loss on March 27, 2009.
RUSSELL WESTBROOK TRIP-DUBS
- Russell Westbrook has 70 career triple-doubles, that’s best for sixth all-time.
- 20 of the 70 are against Houston, Orlando, Washington, Minnesota, and Philadelphia. He has four against each team.
- Russell Westbrook seven triple-doubles in a row this season is the most since 1989 when Jordan had seven in a row and 10 in 11 games.
- Westbrook is fifth all-time in triple-doubles.
ALL-TIME TRIPLE-DOUBLE LIST
WESTBROOK TRIPLE-DOUBLE CAREER LIST[table “” not found /]
- Oklahoma City is relatively healthy.
50 IS NIFTY
- On March 24, the Thunder claimed a 22-point home victory over the Jazz and in the process, OKC recorded the team’s 50th win of the season.
- Oklahoma City has now finished with a winning percentage of .610 (equivalent to 50 wins) six times dating back to the 2009-10 season.
- Only the San Antonio Spurs (seven seasons with .610 winning percentage), have reached that benchmark more during this period.
STILL GOOD ODDS
- According to Sportsbook, the Oklahoma City Thunder have the eighth best odds to win the Larry O’Brien trophy.
- They have the fifth best odds to win the Western Conference behind, the Clippers, Spurs, Rockets, and the Warriors.
- Oklahoma City returns home to play the Sacramento Kings on Saturday afternoon.
- The Kings are 27-41 on the season, 12th in the West.
- Oklahoma City is 1-1 vs. the Kings this season.
- Sacramento is 2-8 in their last 10 games.
- This will be the Thunder’s first game against the Kings since both teams made trades.
KEYS TO THE GAME
DeMar DeRozan is one of the league’s leading scorers. He’s been a mini-Westbrook as he continues to attack and do it all. He’s shooting over 46 percent from the floor, averaging 27.2 points per game on only 26 percent from deep. He can’t do this every night. The Thunder have to use Andre Roberson and Victor Oladipo and their length to force DeRozan to really beat the Thunder from from three.
When a team is the worst shooting three-point percentage in the association, you cannot let them get off to a hot start against you. Toronto is averaging only 36.3 percent from three, which is pretty average. However, they’re only 31.9 percent from deep after the All-Star Break. That’s not that much worse than what Oklahoma City is doing, 32.8 percent before the break. Now Oklahoma City is shooting almost 36 percent after. If the Raptors come out and get hot, the Thunder may be taking an L tonight. They have to defend the three.
Play your own speed
Oklahoma City wants to play fast and the Raptors don’t. That’s no more apparent than looking at their paces. Oklahoma City is averaging almost 104 possessions per game, while Toronto is averaging under 95. It’s that fast pace, ball movement an forcing turnovers that help Oklahoma City get these extra possessions. That’s why the Thunder have to continue to do this tonight. Cannot play down to the speed of Toronto.