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Thunder overwhelms Raptors to open road trip

Oklahoma City cruised to a 104-92 victory in Toronto on Sunday with a swarming defense that is part of the recipe for success on the road.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: January 6, 2013

The Raptors have been without injured leading big man Andrea Bargnani, though he's not a strong rebounder, and also came in missing centers Aaron Gray (flu) and Jonas Valanciunas (fractured hand), as well as forward Linas Kleiza (knee). Terrence Ross, the promising eighth overall pick in this year's draft, also left the game with a sprained left ankle.

As a result, four Thunder players — Collison, Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins — all finished with at least seven rebounds.

“We knew that because of some of their injuries they've been playing small,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “So we had to attack the offensive glass.”

Equally impressive was how the Thunder shut down DeRozan, who entered the game averaging 18.3 points. DeRozan scored just 11 on 4-for-16 shooting.

There was nothing his fiancé could do to help him there.

“We wanted to make sure we didn't give him any easy shots,” Brooks said.

Russell Westbrook, meanwhile, led yet another balanced offensive attack by scoring 12 of his team-high 23 points in the third quarter. Durant scored 22 points on only 11 shots, Ibaka had 19 points and Kevin Martin added 16.

The Thunder improved to 14-0 when five players score in double digits.

Durant and Westbrook each had seven assists.

“Everybody chipped in, and that's what we need. It was a good balance,” Durant said. “The defense doesn't know who's going to score.”

A 32-point Raptors second quarter was the lone cause for concern Sunday. It kept the Raptors within 52-50 at the half. The Thunder allowed Toronto reserve Alan Anderson to score 19 of his game- and career-high 27 points in that second period, and the Raptors shot 59.1 percent in the quarter.

“I thought that was our lack of focus in that second quarter defensively,” Brooks said. “That second quarter, we were just exchanging baskets. And when you do that teams can get comfortable and teams can get hot … But I thought it was a good win.”

by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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