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NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, January 6th (All times Eastern)
Oklahoma City Thunder (25-7) at Toronto Raptors (12-21), 1 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Oklahoma City Thunder head out on a quick trip east, starting with a Sunday afternoon matinee at the Air Canada Centre against the Toronto Raptors.
The Thunder migrate north the winners of four of their last five. Oklahoma City will go from Toronto to Washington for a battle with the Wizards on Monday, make a quick stop back home on Wednesday against Minnesota, then west for three games.
Oklahoma City atoned for a tough, 17-point home loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night with a 109-85 walloping of the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night.
To the surprise of no one who follows the NBA, the Thunder were led by Kevin Durant (26 points) and Russell Westbrook (27 points). Serge Ibaka had a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
The Thunder were great on both sides of the ball against Philly. They held the Sixers to 40.5 percent shooting from the field and forced 20 turnovers against a team noted for protecting the ball. OKC also kept the Sixers off the foul line, allowing eight free throws, all by Nick Young.
Oklahoma City shot 52 percent from the field and almost 60 percent from the 3- point line.
"Just being aggressive," said Ibaka. "We bounced back. That's how good teams do it."
The Thunder get a Raptors team that lost by nine at home to the Sacramento Kings on Friday, but have played some really strong basketball. Toronto is 8-2 in its last 10 and the other loss during this stretch cam in San Antonio to the Spurs.
The Raptors had no answer for Sacramento's DeMarcus Cousins. The often- suspended Cousins went off for 31 points and 20 rebounds as the Kings won, 105-96.
"We were flat as a pancake. We had no answers for Cousins inside, we had no answer double-teaming. . . whatever it was," said Raptors coach Dwane Casey. "We didn't play with the zip, the bounce that we had, we were flat, missing free throws, turnovers, you name it we had it."
Free throws were a problem as Toronto went 25-for-37 for 67.6 percent. The Raptors committed 15 turnovers and shot 38 percent from the field and 33 percent from long range.
With Andrea Bargnani and Jonas Valanciunas both out for an extended period of time, the Raptors' reserves scored 55 points, led by 24 from Kyle Lowry and 20 from Alan Anderson. Friday's loss marked the ninth time in the last 10 games the Toronto bench scored 49-plus points.
The Thunder won this season's only matchup, a 108-88 thumping on Nov. 6 in Oklahoma City. The two teams have split the last 10 meetings in Toronto.
01/06 10:30:22 ET
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