NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, November 6th (All times eastern)
Toronto Raptors (1-2) at Oklahoma City Thunder (1-2), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The reigning Western Conference champions, the Oklahoma City Thunder, will try and get back on track at home tonight when they host the Toronto Raptors.
The Thunder lost at home Sunday night to the Atlanta Hawks, 104-95. After a season-opening heartbreaker to the San Antonio Spurs and a comfortable home victory over the Portland Trail Blazers, the Thunder have sputtered a bit getting out of the blocks this season.
Kevin Durant's scoring numbers are down. The man who led the NBA in scoring the last three seasons is averaging only 22.7 ppg, but he also leads the team in rebounding, assists and steals.
Russell Westbrook had a forgettable night against the Hawks with only 14 points on 5-of-18 shooting. He did register nine assists.
Oklahoma City has shot over 40 percent from the 3-point line in all three games this season, but was done in Sunday by a bad defensive second half. The Thunder surrendered 57 points in the last two quarters and also finished the game with 20 turnovers, which led to 31 points for Atlanta.
"It is early. We have to put everything in perspective," said Thunder head coach Scott Brooks. "The concern to me is that we take pride in never giving up a 30-point quarter and we started the game off giving one, then we gave a 28-point quarter and a 29-point one. We have to address that issue."
Kevin Martin did his best James Harden impression against the Hawks. He scored 28 points off the bench in just 29 minutes, including 19 in the second quarter alone.
The Raptors picked up their first win of the season on Sunday, a 105-86 drubbing of the Minnesota Timberwolves. The backcourt of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan combined for 44 points in victory. Through three games, the backcourt is the fourth-highest scoring set of guards in the league.
The guards, especially Lowry, are taking care of the ball as well. The Raptors rank second in the NBA in fewest turnovers with just an 11.7 average per game.
And, Toronto is causing turnovers. The Wolves had 24 on Sunday and the Raptors, who rank fourth in the NBA causing 20 turnovers a night, scored 32 points off Minnesota's miscues.
"We had a lot more possessions because of the turnovers," said Raptors coach Dwane Casey.
Lowry has been sensational in his first three games as a member of the Raptors. Acquired from the Houston Rockets in the offseason, Lowry leads the team in scoring, assists, rebounding, steals, field-goal percentage, free- throw percentage and 3-point percentage.
The Thunder, 15-3 in games after a loss last season, won the only matchup last season, but Toronto swept the season series during the 2010-11 campaign.
11/06 10:53:30 ET