Preview 35 of 82: Raptors @ Thunder
Time: 7:00 PM CT
TV: NBA TV / Fox Sports Oklahoma
Radio: WWLS (98.1 FM OKC / 97.1 FM Tulsa)
The Thunder is on a season-best five game winning streak, but a part of me can’t help but ask, “Is this the real thing? Is the Thunder finally becoming the team everyone expected it to be?” Monday night’s win against the Rockets was solid, no doubt, but a win tonight against the Raptors (23-9) could cement the Thunder (19-15) as the contender it was supposed to be.
The Raptors have quietly made their way to second in the Eastern Conference after winning 12 of the last 14 games. The Thunder is no slouch either, finishing 11-3 in the same span. Win or lose, tonight’s game should be a good one.
Raptors: Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, OG Anunoby, Serge Ibaka, Jonas Valanciunas
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OK3 is More Than OK. In Monday night’s win against the Rockets, the OK3 combined for 75 points and their most efficient shooting night yet. As predicted, Carmelo Anthony unlocked “Christmas Melo,” shooting 60 percent (8-12) from the field and 50 percent (2-4) from three. When an angel came to Sam Presti in a dream and told him to acquire Carmelo, this was why.
Patrick’s Past. Patrick Patterson will face off against his former team for the first time tonight. Patterson played four seasons with the Raptors averaging, 7.6 points and 4.8 rebounds. He still ranks first all-time in Raptors franchise history for most three-pointers made by a reserve (326).
Air Congo Returns. Serge Ibaka will be returning to Oklahoma City for the first time this season. In his last visit to OKC, he scored a career-high 31 points for the Magic. Ibaka is the Seattle/Oklahoma City franchise leader with 1,300 blocks and ninth in rebounds with 3,875 .
Fearless Leader. Russell Westbrook earned the distinction of Western Conference Player of the Week after leading the Thunder to four wins last week. He averaged a whopping 29.8 points on 59.8 percent shooting to go along with 9 rebounds, 9.5 assists, and 2.5 steals. Coincidentally, the Eastern Conference Player of the Week is Raptors’ guard, DeMar DeRozan..
Paul George discusses him, Carmelo Anthony and Russell Westbrook all shooting well versus Houston. “When we play together, when we play for one another, that’s the team we will be.” Via Erik Horne.