|2013-2014 NBA Season|
|December 22nd, 2013|
|Chesapeake Arena, OKC|
|6:00 PM CST|
|TV: Fox Sports Network Oklahoma|
|Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1 FM/640 AM)|
|Injury Report: none|
|Previous Matchups: None|
|Kyle Lowry||PG||Russell Westbrook|
|Terrence Ross||SG||Thabo Sefolosha|
|DeMar DeRozan||SF||Kevin Durant|
|Amir Johnson||PF||Serge Ibaka|
|Jonas Valanciunas||C||Kendrick Perkins|
|2013/14 Advanced Stats|
|92.6 (22nd)||Pace||96.9 (4th)|
|104.7 (18th)||ORtg||108.5 (6th)|
|104.6 (12th)||DRtg||100.7 (4th)|
The Thunder face the proverbial trap game tonight. After last night's big road win over the Spurs, OKC has to be feeling confident about where it stands. Such positioning can grow into overconfidence, and such hubris can break any talented team. The challenges that the Thunder must overcome tonight:
1) Don't lose the rebounding + turnover battle.
Giving up an additional possessions to a weaker team is a formula for disaster, no matter what the talent discrepancy is between teams. The Thunder have been one of the league's best on the boards this year, and they must limit the Raptors' 2nd chance opportunities. Likewise, Westbrook and Durant must be ball protectors. They don't need to crush the Raptors in the 1st quarter, but rather treat it is a 4 quarter game.
2) Maintain high bench play.
The Thunder bench thoroughly outplayed the Spurs last night, and have been doing so against most teams. Reggie Jackson must continue to break down the opposition's 2nd unit and get open opportunities for Jeremy Lamb and Nick Collison.
3) Treat the Raptors seriously.