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Thunder vs Raptors Preview: OKC faces red-hot Toronto

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At 10 and 2 in the month of December, the Raptors are the hottest team in the Eastern Conference.

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Toronto Raptors Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

After a big win over the Houston Rockets Christmas night, the Oklahoma City Thunder are stepping out of the frying panand directly into the fire at home against a Toronto team that has put together 3 respectable winning streaks since the middle of November. The game tips off at 7 p.m. cst.

In their last 20 games, Toronto boasts a sparkling 16 and 4 record, but the Thunder have matched the Raptors’ 8 and 2 mark over the last ten games, including the 5 game streak they put on the line tonight. Toronto is playing the second game of a back-to-back and after averaging over 111 pts/gm this season will be highly motivated to reverse a poor 93 point effort against the Dallas Mavericks last night.

At 10 and 2 the Raptors are the second hottest team in the month of December and have posted some impressive splits in the last month of 2017:

Make no mistake, a Thunder letdown against the Raptors after their big win against the Rockets is not advisable. Toronto is for real.

The Raptor’s bench can go 10 or 11 players deep and according to SBNation’s Tim Cato, the team’s secret weapon is 6’8” rookie wing, OG Anunoby, playing alongside the starters. As if Anunoby’s great height, 44% average from beyond the arc, and 62.6% True Shooting Percentage weren’t scary enough, an 8’ wingspan takes 3 and D to an entirely new terrifying level. When the 23rd pick out of Indiana is on the floor, the Raptors are outscoring opponents a whopping 17.5 points per 100 possessions.

Of course, hindsight is 20/20, but going two spots after the Thunder picked Terrance Ferguson 21st in the last NBA draft, one has to wonder what in the hell Sam Presti was thinking when he passed on Anunoby.

Toronto’s offense is all about ball movement and getting high percentage shots. NBAtv did a short breakdown of that movement on December 5th and why it is so effective:

The Raptors have reduced their low percentage 2 point attempts, upped their high percentage 3-point numbers from the number and have three 7 footers that keep teams busy in the paint. Suffice it to say, Andre Roberson, Paul George, and the rest of the Thunder’s highly ranked defense will earn their bacon tonight.


Who do you think will win tonight?

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