A road-home back-to-back spelled the end of a couple of long streaks for the Oklahoma Thunder on Sunday.
Fresh off an impressive 13-point win over the Spurs on Saturday in San Antonio, Derek Fisher and the Thunder faltered for the first time in more than two weeks Sunday, losing 104-98 to the Toronto Raptors. The defeat snapped a nine-game winning streak for the Thunder, just their second loss in their last 19 games and their first defeat at home this season.
The weekend started out great for the Thunder as they extended their winning streak to nine in San Antonio with an offensive outburst and a lockdown defensive effort.
After playing to a 21-21 draw in the first, OKC broke out for 40 points in the second quarter. Derek had five of those 40 while playing more than nine minutes of the quarter that turned the game in favor of the Thunder. His first bucket came just three minutes into the second when Reggie Jackson dished to Fish for a triple to put OKC up five.
Later in the quarter, No. 6 sank an 18-footer that pushed the lead to seven. He also had an assist to Serge Ibaka for a big dunk during the quarter, and by the time he left the game with 2:54 left in the half, OKC was up 11, the same number they led by at half. The Spurs trimmed the lead back to single digits in the third, but OKC applied pressure in the fourth and closed out their ninth straight win.
“We did a good job of just keeping our heads above water,” Russell Westbrook said of the victory. “We never got too low and never got too high. We played consistent and played our game.”
That was not, however, the case just one night later as a hot Raptors team caught the Thunder at a low point.
Toronto came out of the gate aggressively, and forced eight Thunder turnovers in the first quarter as they established a four-point lead after one. The second quarter was a shootout as each team shot better than 60 percent from the floor. D-Fish tallied all six of his points for the game in the second on a trey and three free throws, but OKC was outscored 37-35, and trailed by six at halftime.
As they had in previous games during their win streak, the Thunder came out focused defensively in the third. In one of their best defensive frames of the season so far, Oklahoma City limited Toronto to just 13 third quarter points while scoring 28 of their own. They carried a nine-point lead into the fourth.
But the OKC offense seemingly ran out of gas in the fourth, making just 5-of-25 shot attempts. Despite struggling from the field early in the quarter, the Thunder clung to a lead and were up by five when Russell Westbrook drilled a pullup jumper with six minutes remaining. But the struggles worsened over the final six minutes as OKC made just one of their final 11 shot attempts, allowing the Raptors to take a lead and pull away.
“It doesn’t happen to us often where we can get up on a team by 11 and lose the lead. Especially on our home floor,” Brooks said. “In the fourth quarter, we could not make shots. Then they started getting hot and the tables turned. You have to give Toronto credit. We’ll get better from it and move on to the next game.”
That next game will be the nationally televised Christmas Day game at Madison Square Garden in New York City against the New York Knicks. Tip-off is slated for 2:30 p.m. and the game can be seen on ABC.
- Game in Review: Thunder at Spurs (OKCThunder.com, December 21, 2013)
- Game in Review: Raptors at Thunder (OKCThunder.com, December 22, 2013)
- Raptors caught a Thunder team that was ripe for a setback (The Oklahoman, December 23, 2013)
- Raptors come back in fourth quarter to stun Thunder (The Oklahoman, December 23, 2013)