After finding themselves a top the Eastern Conference after Christmas Day, the Raptors have quietly lost two in a row and dropped back to second. The OKC Thunder had their way with the Raptors defence for four quarters in their 124-107 victory over Toronto. Paul George and Russell Westbrook combined to score 63 points, while CJ Miles led the charge for Toronto with 20. Miles shot 50% from beyond the arc, going six for twelve. You can always tell when a shooter is feeling it on a given night and that was certainly Miles last night. Despite the loss, the Raptors had five scorers register in double figures. OKC shot 53% from the floor, while Toronto left a lot to be desired, shooting just 42% on the night.
The Raptors early season success was most prevalent from their depth and usage of the bench, not to mention their improved defensive play. The past two nights, that Raptors have gotten lazy on the defensive side of the ball and it's shown on the scoreboard. Well it is very difficult to stop Westbrook, you do have to do a better job of getting in his face and contesting shots as well as clogging lanes so he can't drive so freely.
Toronto returns home on Friday for a date at the ACC with the Atlanta Hawks. Look for Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan to have bounce back efforts. DeRozan had a stretch of 3-4 really good games in a row, but has struggled in the last two. His scoring prowess is a major key to the overall success of the club.
Keep an eye on Norman Powell, who played just nine minutes in the loss against an up tempo Thunder team. We'll see how his minutes bounce back on Friday night vs. Atlanta.