Thunder to visit the Raptors, who are hotter than you might realize

By JOHN ROHDE Published: January 5, 2013
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photo - Toronto Raptors guard Terrence Ross (31) is congratulated by Amir Johnson, right, and Alan Anderson, left, after making a buzzer-beating 3-pointer against the Portland Trail Blazers at the end of the first half of an NBA basketball game in Toronto, Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn) ORG XMIT: FNG103
Toronto Raptors guard Terrence Ross (31) is congratulated by Amir Johnson, right, and Alan Anderson, left, after making a buzzer-beating 3-pointer against the Portland Trail Blazers at the end of the first half of an NBA basketball game in Toronto, Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn) ORG XMIT: FNG103

“Their combination of blocks and steals is 15 or so a game. That's when they get in the open court. (Kevin) Durant and (Russell) Westbrook are 3-4 in fast-break points in the league. Kevin Martin is No. 1 in free-throw shooting. Durant I think is No. 3. They're on pace to set a record for the best free-throw shooting team in the history of the NBA.

“A big part of what they do is that foul line, so can you play them without fouling? Can you move the ball against them and get some open shots? You've got to get back in transition, especially here at home. Great, great crowd here. A lot of energy.”

YOUNG GUN

Guard Nick Young has burned the Thunder while playing for Washington and the Los Angeles Clippers, and Friday was more of the same as he finished with a team-high 21 points and went 5 for 7 from 3-point range.

In his career against OKC, Young is averaging 11.4 points in 21.9 minutes and shooting 40.9 percent from 3-point range. He averaged 16.3 points against the Thunder last season.

Young explained Friday's loss as follows: “They stayed in attack. They outrebounded us, made turnovers, forced turnovers and they just scored off our turnovers. We gave them too many second-chance shots, and you know that's the game. Once they get going, KD and Russell, that's going to leave (Serge) Ibaka open. It just trickles down.”

TIP-INS

OKC leads the league in free-throw shooting at 84.3 percent. The NBA record is 83.2 percent by the 1989-90 Boston Celtics. The Thunder has led the league in free-throw percentage the last two seasons and was second in 2009-10. … OKC is 11-4 against Eastern Conference teams and 14-3 against the Western Conference. … The Thunder plays at Washington at 6 p.m. Monday, which will complete the team's seventh back-to-back this season. OKC is 4-2 on the first night, 5-1 on the second night and has three sweeps. The Thunder has 15 back-to-backs this season.

TULSA TIME

Thunder center Daniel Orton had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds Friday night in the Tulsa 66ers' home loss against Idaho. Rookies Jeremy Lamb and Perry Jones each scored 12 points. Lamb had seven rebounds and Jones had five.

All five Thunder players who have been assigned to the 66ers this season are averaging double-digits in scoring — Reggie Jackson (28.0), Lamb (21.6), Jones (14.3), Orton (10.8) and DeAndre Liggins (10.2).

QUOTABLE

Durant on Ibaka finishing with a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds against the Sixers: “Now we expect it from him. When he has a double-double it's not like breaking news.”



Thunder at Raptors

When: Noon Sunday

Where: Air Canada Centre, Toronto

TV: Fox Sports Oklahoma (Cox 37/HD 722, DirecTV 679, Dish 441, U-Verse 754/HD 1754).

Radio: WWLS 98.1-FM, WWLS 640-AM

Three things to know

* Starting with its game against Toronto, the Thunder will play 11 of the next 13 on the road.

* This is the second and final meeting this season between Oklahoma City and Toronto. The Thunder won the first meeting, 108-88, on Nov. 6 inside Chesapeake Energy Arena.

* The Thunder did not play in Toronto last year due to the lockout shortening the season. In 2010-11, the Thunder suffered a 111-99 defeat against the Raptors inside the Air Canada Centre.

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