Raptors caught a Thunder team that was ripe for a setback

This had trap game all over it. The Thunder was coming off an impressive Saturday night victory in San Antonio. Toronto, despite a 10-14 record, had shown recent signs of life, particularly a victory in Dallas on Friday night.
by Berry Tramel Modified: December 23, 2013 at 8:53 am •  Published: December 22, 2013

OK, who had Toronto in the pool?

The Rockets next Sunday, the Blazers on New Year's Eve, the Warriors in mid-January? Sure.

But Toronto? Who even remembers that Toronto is in the league?

The Raptors served a timely reminder. They beat the Thunder 104-98 Sunday night, handing OKC its first home court loss of the season after a 13-0 start, and maybe we should have seen it coming.

This had trap game written all over it.

The Thunder was coming off an impressive Saturday night victory in San Antonio, which no one forgets is in the NBA. The Raptors, despite a 10-14 record, had shown recent signs of life, particularly a victory in Dallas on Friday night.

“They just came out with more effort,” Kendrick Perkins said. “They wanted it more. I think we was relaxed the whole game, from everybody, top to bottom.”

Usually that's just talk. But it probably was true Sunday night. The Thunder seemed to coast for long stretches.

Turnovers on six of nine possessions late in the first quarter. A defensive meltdown late second quarter, allowing the starless Raptors to score on nine straight possessions to end the half. A disastrous fourth quarter in which Toronto more than doubled the Thunder (29-14).

“They beat us fair and square,” said Kevin Durant, who had his second straight off game, making just five of 16 shots, a night after going 6-of-14 in San Antonio.

Bad losses happen. The Heat lost at home to Boston. The Pacers lost at home to Detroit. The Blazers lost at home to Dallas. You move on and try to minimize them.

The verdict showed a few things, starting with the value of Reggie Jackson. The Thunder will be hard-pressed to survive a 1-of-11 shooting night from its super sub.

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by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The...
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