OKC Thunder falls short of comeback effort against Toronto Raptors in a thrilling game, three takeaways offer insight into the match.
Not once but twice the OKC Thunder battled back to try to snatch victory from the defending champion Toronto Raptors. In the end, it was too little too late as the Raptors hung on for the victory.
It was the 41st game of the season for the OKC Thunder who move to 23-18 on the season and remain in seventh place in the Western Conference, four full games ahead of the eighth-place Memphis Grizzlies.
The Head Coach for the Raptors, Nick Nurse elected to go with a massive starting rotation moving OG Anunoby (who has recently been starting at power forward due to the injuries) to shooting guard, Pascal Siakam to small forward and inserting both Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol in the frontcourt.
Gasol was making his return to the lineup after missing 12 games due to a hamstring injury and joined Siakam and Norman Powell who also just returned for their own double-figure games missed.
It was clearly a countermeasure made by Nurse in an effort to limit Shai Gilgeous-Alexander who feasted in the 6ix and for the most part, it worked to great effect. The Raptors were clicking on all cylinders on both sides of the court jumping out to a 73-55 half time lead. Four 3-point shots made by the Thunder in the final 1:19 by Mike Muscala, Dennis Schroder, Danilo Gallinari, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander made the score appear less egregious.
But this wasn’t the only run the scrappy Thunder made. Entering the final frame the Raptors held a 97-83 lead but by 2:39 the Thunder had cut it to three points based on Gallo’s dunk and free throw.
Ultimately, the Thunder used up all their energy and couldn’t counter the final momentum shift that witnessed Kyle Lowry pull a similar function that CP3 does for the Thunder as he led Toronto on an 8-2 run including two personal drives in the paint to finish the game.
With that here are the three key takeaways from the game: