The Oklahoma City Thunder will play basketball at the earliest time they have so far this season on the road vs. the Toronto Raptors today at 1 p.m. EST.
It will be the second meeting between the Thunder and Raptors. In the first, OKC easily won 108-88 behind 19 points and eight assists from Russell Westbrook. Kevin Durant scored 15 points in that game but only needed to play 29 minutes.
Kyle Lowry was injured in that game after just 17 minutes but will be back for this meeting today. The Raptors have watched Lowry’s minutes since his return from injury but expect that load to increase starting today.
Toronto got off to a slow start this season but has improved as of late. They’ve won three of their last five games and won five in a row before that.
The Raptors have a good-looking offense right now ranked 12th in the NBA in efficiency. Their defense is just 24th overall but has been a bit better lately.
The Thunder rarely have much working against them and as far as individual matchups go, they shouldn’t have any trouble beating the Raptors.
Lowry will be a tough matchup even for Westbrook. Going on the road to Toronto and playing a game this early will certainly be some kind of factor as well that should benefit the Raptors if anyone.
The Thunder are coming off a 109-85 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers in their last game. They outscored Philly 63-43 in the second half of that game on their way to a very good shooting night.
That was at home though and the Thunder have played 20 home games so far this season vs. just 12 away games. On the road, the Thunder are averaging 5.0 points per game less than they do at home.
Today’s game won’t be the cakewalk that it may appear to be on the schedule. Toronto is playing well lately and will surely look to take the Thunder by surprise today.
The best thing OKC has going for them of late is the play of Westbrook who is shooting the ball far better in his last four games than he did the previous month. When Westbrook plays well, the Thunder don’t lose.