The Raptors gave the Thunder a good contest for about 30 minutes, but when OKC flipped the switch in the second half, Toronto’s effort was nowhere near up to the task.

Here are some thoughts on the game…

Thunder 104, Raptors 92

- It’s not that the Raptors came out with a piss poor effort like they did at times through the first 22 games of the season, but the fight they showed in their three week run wasn’t there either. They slumped their shoulders and looked pretty defeated as soon as the Thunder made their move in the third quarter, and that was disappointing regardless of the fact that no one expected them to win this game.

- There was plenty of blame to go around today, but a lot will fall on the shoulders of DeMar DeRozan and Ed Davis, who each had one of their more forgettable games of the season. For DeRozan, who always seems to struggle against Thabo Sefolosha and the Thunder, it was the second straight game in which he failed to show up. Between 33 minutes against the Kings on Friday and 33 minutes against the Thunder on Sunday, DeMar combined for 25 points on a paltry 7-of-27 shooting to go with seven total rebounds and three assists. Hopefully this is just a case of a simple mid-season slump for DeRozan, and not a sign that he’s going to have a hard time adjusting to teams’ defensive adjustments to him.

- Dwane Casey’s rotations in this game left something to be desired, especially with respect to how he handled the point guard situation. I was fine with Jose Calderon earning the starting spot, but this team has two quality point men for a reason, and if the starter isn’t up to the task, Casey shouldn’t hesitate to use a quick hook. Today, it wad pretty obvious early on that Calderon wasn’t the best option defensively against a Russell Westbrook team and he wasn’t doing much offensively either, but instead of substituting Lowry for Jose early, Calderon actually played the entire first quarter. It was puzzling/frustrating, to say the least.

- Amir Johnson was productive in his first start of the season, posting an impressive line of 19 points (on 8/11 shooting), nine rebounds and three blocks while only committing one personal foul in roughly 38 minutes (though his lone foul was a needless one on a fading away Ibaka) to rebound from his disastrous, scoreless six-foul performance against DeMarcus Cousins on Friday. With Aaron Gray struggling,  I wonder if Casey will consider moving Amir into the starting five. The dilemma, of course, is that it leaves Gray and Quincy Acy as your only big options off of the bench right now.

- The other big performer on the day for Toronto was Alan Anderson, who exploded for a career-high 27 points on 10-of-14 shooting, including a phenomenal second quarter stretch of three-pointers that single-handedly gave the Raptors a five-point lead and brought the Air Canada Centre crowd to its feet in the loudest ovation of the game. Unfortunately, when your best players are Amir Johnson and Alan Anderson, you’re not going to beat many teams in the NBA, let alone truly elite championship contenders like the Thunder.

- Terrence Ross left the game in the third quarter and did not return after suffering a sprained left ankle. There’s been no indication as to severity or a timetable yet, so it could just be the type of minor sprain that sees him return on Wednesday, but if Ross has to miss time, it will be a big downer for Raptors fans who have already been robbed of one favourite rookie due to injury recently.

Raptors Player Of the Game: Alan Anderson – 27 Pts, 10/14 FG, 4/8 3PT, 3/3 FT, 4 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl, 3 TO in 33:13

Thunder Player Of the Game: Kevin Durant – 22 Pts, 6/11 FG, 2/5 3PT, 8/9 FT, 7 Reb, 7 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk, 1 TO in 38:27

With winnable home games against the struggling 76ers, hapless Bobcats and inconsistent Bucks coming up this week, the Raptors will have a chance to make up for the last couple of games, but if they’re slowly regressing back into the team that dug themselves a mammoth hole to start the season, none of these games should be seen as “gimmes.”

It could be a successful week, but I caution fans not to assume it will be.

We should be back with the first 2013 edition of RaptorBlog Radio for your listening pleasure tomorrow. Until then…

Comments (13)

  1. All is well, friends, the podcast returns!

  2. Attended this abortion of a game (if your a raps fan). Only 3 players played well. Alan Anderson (fluke), Johnson, and Lowry. The rest of the team should be embarrassed. Anderson and Johnson can be fine bench players for good teams but they should not be your most productive players. Lowry was fine and I was pissed at casey for not starting him over calderon and playing him more minutes. Not to mention lowry is a better matchup vs. westbrook, better player, and the only player that can create his own shot. Derozan and davis were completely exposed as non core pieces. I have no idea why davis gets so much irrational love on this blog when he has barely proven anything. Anyways, have to build around lowry and jval and add more pieces. The rest are tradeable. Some can be kept for bench roles but thats what theyre best suited for if this team is going to be good.

    • The guy above me why dont you try playing against the best big man defenders in the game you need to stop critisizing other people

      • Sorry bro, its got nothing to to with opposing big man defenders. He got exposed on d also. Your boy is a fine bench player. Just not a core player, thats all.

  3. up to I saw the draft ov $7031, I didnt believe …that…my friends brother really erning money part-time on their computer.. there mums best friend has been doing this for only about twenty months and just now paid the morgage on their mini mansion and bourt Mercedes. go to, jump15.comCHECK IT OUT

    • No reason I can see why Lowry and Anderson aren’t starting. As much as I love Jose, there has to be a trade out there for him. For this year I am totally fine with a point guard rotation of Lowry and Lucas, a wing rotation of derozen, Anderson, Ross and fields and a three post big rotation of Val, Amir and Ed. Calderon for assets, bargs as well. Kleiza as amnesty and pietrus packaged with one of bargs or Jose.

  4. Agreed; Davis hasn’t proven enough to really earn the start, but the Raps are hurting when it comes to big men. I hope JV gets back soon as this is valuable experience he is missing. Calderon gets hyped when they win but when they lose, I just don’t know. I think they need to reduce his minutes as it’s been seen that he can be more effective when he’s rested. Also Ross didn’t take many shots; I guess Casey had something to say about his less than sensational shooting performance against the Kings. Although I hope Casey doesn’t shy away from him too much as he has shown his explosive ability as in my view is one of their most exciting players to watch.

    • Davis is quite effective, but needs better guys with him, Anderson, Lowry and Val in the starting five will make allow him to fill a role rather than trying to do too much

      • I want the raps to play guys who can play on both ends. Guys I see who can do that are Lowry, derozen, Ross, Anderson, Amir, Ed and Val. I hope to see fields there, but simply don’t see bargs, Jose and kleiza being capable of making us better on both ends. Bargs needs to get back with all these injuries and perform well off the bench so he can be traded.

        • I argee with you totally joel but the other i disagree first off ed davis is starting to improve while the others are doin as well ed davis wasnt part of the core pieces for the raptors it was derozan and bargs but look what happened now bargs isnt pushing us on defence while ed is making our defence quite better and the ball movement wit this team is up their with top 10 teams in the nba

          Bargs 4 wins with the team
          Ed davis 8 wins with the team
          Bargs = no defence
          Davis = DEFENCE

          • Maybe Bargs is such a bad defender that he makes Davis look better than what he actually is, and while he has been improving; in my opinion having a young big guy usually means you are going to have a few growing pains. I’d like to compare Ed to Tristan Thompson, who also plays PF; Ed seems to have more upside than Thompson but both are young and in starting line-ups they can be exposed by more veteran players. I can’t think of anyone who I would replace Davis with on this roster, I’m just saying he doesn’t look experienced enough to be a starter yet, then again maybe it will help boost his confidence which is always good for young players. If I were GM I would look for another big; maybe a veteran who can teach the Raps young players, since Aaron Gray doesn’t seem to have anything to offer.

          • Its because of lack of leadership calderon is great in all but cmon on defence he not telling guys to switch over picks while kyle lowry knows how to play defence and help his team more plus we lack on veteran bigs if you think about it thats why their not really improving alot because theres no one on the raptors who can really push our bigs

          • Yeah I agree, leadership on this team seems to be lacking at times; likely why they struggled so bad with Bargs, as he wasn’t much of a leader

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