Oklahoma City Thunder vs Toronto Raptors

Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder look for revenge against Kawhi Leonard and the Toronto Raptors on Friday, March 22nd at 7:30 PM EST at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, ON, Canada. The broadcast is available on NBATV, Fox Sports Oklahoma, and SN1/E/W/P; radio is available via WWLS 98.1FM OKC and Sportsnet 590 The FAN.

How to Watch

What: Oklahoma City Thunder vs Toronto Raptors

Where: Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, ON, Canada

When: Thursday, March 22nd at 7:30 PM EST

How (TV/Radio): NBATV, Fox Sports Oklahoma, SN1/E/W/P | WWLS 98.1FM OKC, Sportsnet 590 The FAN

Oklahoma City Thunder (Away)

Head Coach: Billy Donovan {All-Time 192-126 | OKC}

The Oklahoma City Thunder have experienced an absolute free-fall down the table of the Eastern Conference. With a record of 42-30, they are equal with the Los Angeles Clippers and San Antonio Spurs. Unfortunately, their record in the season series against those teams is negative, thus placing them below both and eighth in the West.

Nothing has gone right for the Thunder since the All-Star Break. Their defense that was once league-best, is now one of the most penetrable in the NBA. Over their last ten games, the Thunder are 4-6. They are now on a four-game losing streak, dropping their most recent game at home to these very Toronto Raptors in the first of this home-and-home.

The Oklahoma City Thunder fought valiantly in their last game. Being down by almost thirty-points, a massive 32-18 fourth quarter pushed the match to overtime. Unfortunately for the Thunder, Paul George fouled out and they were dominated 13-4 in extra time. They will look to rectify their mistakes in this match.

Toronto Raptors (Home)

Head Coach: Nick Nurse {All-Time 51-21 | TOR}

The Toronto Raptors are giving the Milwaukee Bucks a run for first place in the Eastern Conference. With a record of 51-21, the Toronto Raptors are a mere two games out of first position in the East going into this match. They've already defeated this Thunder team on Wednesday, so they will look to replicate their success.

The Toronto Raptors have gone 6-4 in their last ten games, owing to some stiff competition and misfortune in terms of injuries. They lost Kyle Lowry against the Knicks, but the tandem of Fred Vanvleet and Jeremy Lin has stepped up in his absence. After the Thunder the only plus-.500 team the Raptors will face are the Nets, so a win here would be one more step toward the top of the East.

The Toronto Raptors dominated the Oklahoma City Thunder for three quarters in their last match. It all fell apart in the fourth quarter, where Westbrook and George got hot and brought the game to extra time. While the Raptors won the extra frame, they will be motivated to bring forward the effort from the first half of their last match.

What's At Stake?

Due to the relative youth of both franchises, the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Toronto Raptors have met only 20 times in their history. Of those 20 games, the Thunder lead the Raptors 12-8.

A win for the Oklahoma City Thunder would break their tie with the Clippers and Spurs and push them above eighth in the Western Conference Table.

A win for the Toronto Raptors would bring them within 1.5 games of the Milwaukee Bucks who are first in the Eastern Conference.

Questions to answer

How can the Thunder have a better second leg?

Does Pascal Siakam need to slow down?

We are going to compare the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Toronto Raptors in an attempt to see who has the advantage in this matchup.

The Thunder Fought Back, But Ultimately Lost

The night for the Thunder started out great, as Sonic/Thunder legend Nick Collison had his number raised to the rafter beside the likes of Lenny Wilkins, Jack Sikma, and Gus Williams. After that though, the match was all Toronto.

While the Toronto Raptors were able to build up a massive lead through three quarters, the efforts of Westbrook and George brought them back from what seemed to be a Raptors blowout. Unfortunately, when George fouled out, the Westbrook-led Thunder had no rhythm.

The Thunder were demolished in overtime, as the combination of Westbrook and supporting cast were unable to get their scoring in order. It speaks to the difference in quality between the squads but also to the fact that with Westbrook as the sole playmaker, the Thunder really only run the screen and roll. Against a team as defensively adept as the Raptors, it was never going to succeed. They'll have a second chance at it, but they'll need more from everyone, as only three of nine Thunder players scored in double-figures.

There's More to Siakam's Impressive Line

Pascal Siakam put forward an impressive game against the Oklahoma City Thunder last time out. He contributed 33 points, 13 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block in a nationally televised match on ESPN. He was even given the last opportunity to ice the game, where he tried and failed. There lay the problem with Siakam's play late in the game.

As Siakam drove to the basket on the right-hand side, Dennis Schroder barely had to slide over to take a charge from Siakam and have the ball going the other way. Usually a commendable playmaker, Siakam was called for a charge three different times against the Thunder. It points to Siakam's inexperience, despite the growth and strides that he's made this season.

It speaks to how great Siakam has performed all season that he is highlighted for charges committed, even though they were in clutch situations. Though as the Raptors put it, every regular season game is practice for the playoffs. While his line is nothing to scoff at, Siakam is sure to clean up his next performance against the Thunder now that the book is out on his game.

Oklahoma City Thunder Roster Notes

G-F Andre Roberson - 14 Feb 2019 - Out (Knee) - Roberson has yet to do any on-court work, however, head coach Billy Donovan hasn't given up hope that he could make a return this season.

Toronto Raptors Roster Notes

G Kyle Lowry - 20 Mar 2019 - Out (Ankle) - Lowry has been ruled OUT for Wednesday's (Mar 20) game.

Head-to-Head: Paul George (OKC) vs Kawhi Leonard (TOR)

Two of the NBA's best two-way players come face to face when the Toronto Raptors and the Oklahoma City Thunder face off for another match. It was an exciting battle between the two All-Stars in their last match, where Kawhi Leonard came out on top. George will look to stay more involved this time out to keep the Thunder competitive.

Paul George

Small Forward | 6-9, 220lb (206cm, 99kg) | Fresno State | Exp. 8 Years

28.2 PPG | 4.2 APG | 8.2 RPG | 2.2 SPG | 0.5 BPG | 2.7 TOV | .440 FG% | .389 3P%

Paul George was reasonably effective but limited in his last match against the Raptors. He contributed 19 points, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds, but fouled out near the end of the fourth which spelled the Thunder's doom in overtime. Paul George needs to take more shots this time out. He was 6-14 and 3-10 from deep, but there's no reason power forward Jerami Grant should be equalling his shot attempts for the game. The Thunder will need his offense to take down the Raptors.

Kawhi Leonard

Small Forward | 6-7, 230lb (201cm, 104kg) | San Diego State | Exp. 7 Years

27.0 PPG | 3.3 APG | 7.5 RPG | 1.8 SPG | 0.4 BPG | 2.1 TOV | .496 FG% | .370 3P%

Coming off of another "Load Management" night, Kawhi Leonard gave it his best against one of the NBA's premier defenders Paul George.

 

 

While he contributed 22 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 assists, Leonard was only 8-19 from the floor and 2-6 from three. For Leonard though, he was able to contribute baskets at clutch opportunities and affected the game through his rarely seen passing ability. A more efficient game is expected of Leonard on his home court.

Oklahoma City Thunder at Toronto Raptors Predictions and Odds

The odds makers have the Toronto Raptors favored over the Oklahoma City Thunder by 2.5, with an over/under of 105.

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