OKC Thunder beat Raptors at their own game – player grades, Nov 11th

OKC Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) shoots b/t Raptors forward Chris Boucher (25) and forward Juancho Hernangomez (41) Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
OKC Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) shoots b/t Raptors forward Chris Boucher (25) and forward Juancho Hernangomez (41) Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports /
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OKC Thunder
Nov 11, 2022; OKC Thunder forward Eugene Omoruyi (97) drives to the basket against Raptors forward Christian Koloko (35) : Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports /

Best OKC Thunder reserve performance:

A+. . F. Oklahoma City Thunder. EUGENE OMORUYI

This is such a feel-good story for a young man who worked hard to find a spot in the G-League. To get the tap to come play with the Varsity group is one thing but for it to be against his hometown squad must’ve been thrilling.

He led the OKC Thunder in scoring with 22 points hitting five of his six 3-point attempts and shot 8 of 10 from the field.

Omoruyi played his high school ball at Orangeville Prep which is a school that focuses on sports and is the Canadian equivalent of Huntington Prep in West Virginia.

Best  Raptors performance:

CHRIS BOUCHER. B+. . F/C. Toronto Raptors

To be honest, it was hard to pick any of the Raptors on this night as this was by far the worst game I’ve witnessed in years.

This can’t be blamed on fatigue because it wasn’t a back-to-back. And sure Toronto is missing their best player and the first guy off the bench but they looked terrible tonight.

They got beat repeatedly on the weak side and it was clear Mark Daigneault had figured out precisely how to attack them.

In the post-game Nick Nurse was flummoxed by his squad’s lack of energy or fight seemingly writing it off partially as ‘just one of those nights’. But I guarantee there will be a long film session reviewing specific sections in this game for improvement defensively and a discussion on why there was no energy.

Something to also keep an eye on is I bet you Nurse will try to implement some of what the Thunder do on offense in the half-court in terms of movement and cuts. Once Siakam and Achiuwa (plus Birch and Champagnie) return I’ll be watching to see if Nurse steals from Daigneault 😉

I digress a bit – but there really wasn’t much to rave about with the Raptors’ performance and Boucher was one of the few bright spots.

He delivered a double-double of 20 points and 12 rebounds with one assist, two steals, and a block.

Number cruncher? = the ESPN box score offers up the full stats, play-by-play and a recap.

Final Thoughts of OKC Thunder rout of Raptors …

As a side note… the Canadian Men’s basketball team became the first team in the Americas Group to secure their berth in the 2023 FIBA World Cup defeating Venezuela 94-56.

While Gilgeous-Alexander and Dort were already likely cemented picks for Nurse you have to wonder if Omoruyi was hoping to make an impression on Coach Nurse to make the squad.

I’m a little sad the  OKC Thunder fan base who don’t typically watch the Raptors saw THAT version of them. They’ve been one of the most exciting teams this year and super fun to watch. This was not a great example of how they typically play.

To put it in perspective I have NEVER seen Nick Nurse raise the white flag in a game sooner than the final minute even if the team trailed by 30 points. Like I said in the opening, it was clear immediately something was off with them and that combined with how sharp and ready the Thunder were equated to their worst performance in my opinion of Nurse’s tenure.

On the opposite side of the equation, it was a delight to see the OKC Thunder play so cohesively. Not just on the offensive side of the court but in general. The entire team was clicking and it can’t help but fuel their confidence.

The question is – – do the Thunder want to keep winning or will they start making tweaks to purposely lose? My hope is they let SGA keep rolling because I want him to make the All-Star Game and there might be a piece of hardware he could earn if he plays the full season! (more on that later).

With that – I’ll leave you to ponder what award I mean. Have a great Saturday!!

Four burning questions. dark. Next