So the Thunder head up north to Canada to take on the Raptors tonight, eh? Yes, yes they do. Do you remember the last time the Thunder took on the Raps? It was a December game when the Thunder were struggling something aweful and came up with a big win at home, just their 3rd of the season. The Thunder came into that game having lost 8 in a row, and followed that win by losing their next 5 in a row to conclude, the now infamous, 3-29 start that had the 4 letter network calling them the worst team in the history of the NBA. Oh how far this Thunder team has come since that game, and having beaten the Raptors in the midst of playing their worst ball, tonights game should be an easy victory right?
Don't count on it. The Raptors, despite their 26-45 record, come into this game having won 3 of their last 5 games after a 7 game losing streak. During those last five games, both losses came against the same team on back to back nights, the Charlotte Bobcats. With the way the Bobcats have been playing over the past few months, its no big surprise. If the Raptors can get a "W" against the Thunder tonight, it would mark the first time since the all-star break that the Raptors have been able to put together a 3 game winning streak. They haven't yet been eliminated from the playoffs, so if they hope to Cinderella themselves into the playoffs, they'll have to win games like this, especially when the season is so close to conclusion.
This if the first of three road games for the Thunder as they will travel to Boston on Sunday, and then back near home for a game in San Antonio early next week. Not the easiest road trip in the world, that's for damn sure. With the two teams at the end of the trip, the Thunder need to make every effort to get a win tonight, because winning in Boston or San Antonio will be a tall order...a VERY TALL ORDER. When you combine the home records of the Celtics and Spurs it translates into an eye popping 54-17 record, and when you look at Oklahoma City's 6-28 record, winning either of those game becomes less and less likely.
For me, the real fun tonight is getting a look at Future Thunder player, Chris Bosh! That's right, CB4 will have a home in Oklahoma City following the 2010 free agent signing period....okay okay, so I may be dreaming, but I fell in love with CB4's game during last summers Olympic Games and just salivate at the thought of him taking to the court in a Thunder uniform. If you haven't seen him play, do yourself a favor and pay him some special attention during tonights game, I don't expect that you'd be dissapointed.
Also, the Oklahoman reported that DJ White could get re-assigned back to Tulsa before the team left for Toronto, but at the time of this writing, I have not confirmed any details as to whether that happened or not. It actually kind of confuses me as to why they would call him up and send back down both so quickly. If he travels with the team, it will be fun to see him get on the court for the first time in a Thunder uniform. I just can't get enough of watching all these young guys develop and improve right before our very eyes, and this late in the season, we may get to watch another rookie get his feet wet.
Tip is a bit early tonight, 6pm Local time, so keep that in mind if you are planning to watch the game. The game will be available in standard definition only (ugh..ly) on Fox Sports Oklahoma.
Also, I did a quick Q&A over at RaptorsHQ if you want to take a look at it. Its not up yet, so I don't have a link, but you can find their homepage HERE. I expect it'll be up sometime today.