Local Pro Sports

Thunder drop second straight home game

Thunder drop second straight home game

OKLAHOMA CITY- The Toronto Raptors had to fend off a furious fourth quarter comeback to retire the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Thunder trailed by as many as 30 points in the second half, but were able to make the game interesting for fans down the stretch.

Toronto saw a 14 point lead headed into the fourth quarter evaporate, with the Thunder cutting the lead to just three points with two minutes remaining.

Ultimately Kyle Lowry took over down the stretch for the Raptors, scoring back-to-back buckets to kill the game off and secure a 130-121 victory.

Oklahoma City dug themselves into a hole early for the second straight home game. Trailing 73-55 at the break, the slow start proved insurmountable.

After the game Chris Paul said he was pleased with how his team battled back into the game, but he stressed Oklahoma City has to be better from the start of the game.

“We can’t wait that long to impose our will,” Paul said.

The Thunder’s first half struggles were amplified by sloppy ball handling. Toronto forced 13 turnovers, scoring 22 points off of Oklahoma City’s mistakes in the first half.

“In the first half we dug ourselves a hole,” Thunder Coach Billy Donovan said after the game. “I thought a lot of that was we turned the ball over too much.”

“The turnovers obviously led to them having a huge offensive night in the first half,” he said.

Not only did the Thunder turn the ball over at a high rate in the first half, the turnovers came form unlikely places. Dennis Schröder and Paul combined for seven of Oklahoma City’s first half turnovers.

The duo of guards turned things around after halftime, combining for just two turnovers the remainder of the game.

Schröder also was instrumental in Oklahoma City’s second half comeback, leading the team in scoring with 25 points on 10-of-17 shooting.

Steven Adams left the game early on in the first half, forcing an already shorthanded Thunder team to rely on Mike Muscala and Justin Patton for most of the game.

Muscala responded well, posting his best outing in a Thunder uniform. In nearly 31 minutes of action, Muscala scored 17 points, also logging four rebounds and three assists.

“[Muscala] did an amazing job,” Paul said. “[Muscala] probably played the most minutes he’s played all season.”

Donovan said Muscala’s play came as no shock as he works hard in practice to take advantage of his opportunities when his number is called upon.

Adams’ timeline for return is still unclear, Donovan said after the game.

“It’s just a knee contusion is what I’ve got right now after the game,” Donovan said.

Ultimately Oklahoma City’s rally proved futile, and for the second straight time, the Thunder were shot out of their own building.

Seven Raptors scored double digits, and the team shot 61 percent from the field for the win.

The Thunder will have a day off before they hit the floor again, hosting the Miami Heat on the first night of a home back-to-back.

Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Friday. The game will be televised on Fox Sports Southwest.

Local Pro Sports

Ryan Chapman covers Oklahoma Athletics and the Oklahoma City Thunder for 107.7 The Franchise since 2019. In December of 2020, Chapman was named the Deputy Editor of Sports Illustrated Sooners, and he also is a contributor for Sports Illustrated Thunder. Chapman has previously worked for OCCC's Student Newspaper, The Pioneer, where Chapman covered the Oklahoma City Energy, the Oklahoma City Dodgers, Oklahoma Athletics and the Oklahoma City Thunder. During his time with The Pioneer, Chapman served as the Sports Editor as well as the Editor-in-Chief.

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