With a chance to clinch their first winning season in five years, the Oklahoma City Thunder fell apart in the middle portion of their last game.
The Thunder look for a better overall effort Friday in Toronto, where the Raptors are trying to win two straight for the first time in nearly a month.
A 19-point, second-quarter lead over Charlotte on Wednesday put Oklahoma City (41-25) in good position for its sixth straight victory and the franchise’s first winning season since 2004-05. The Thunder, though, were outscored 41-16 during a stretch bridging halftime and fell 100-92 to open a three-game trip.
“We weren’t able to finish out the game,” point guard Russell Westbrook(notes) told the Thunder’s official Web site after recording his third straight double-double with 15 points and 10 assists. “It’s very disappointing, but that is part of the game and we have to move on to the next game.”
Despite scoring 26 points with 10 rebounds Wednesday, Kevin Durant(notes) will look to bounce back against Toronto after missing 17 of 26 shots, including all seven of his 3-point attempts versus the Bobcats.
“His shot was short most of the night,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said of Durant, who is second in the NBA with 29.7 points per game. “He’s a worker. He’s going to come back. Very rarely is he going to have a 9-for-26 shooting game.”
In a 119-99 home win over the Raptors on Feb. 28, Durant made 9 of 18 shots and scored 29 points as the Thunder franchise posted its most lopsided victory in this series since the Seattle SuperSonics’ 94-74 win Feb. 12, 2004.
Percentage points ahead of Phoenix for fifth in the Western Conference, Durant and the Thunder look for another strong offensive night against Toronto (33-33), which is allowing an Eastern Conference-worst 105.9 points per game.
The Raptors, who lead Chicago by 3 1/2 games for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East, snapped a five-game slide Wednesday with a 106-105 home victory over Atlanta.
“I don’t care who it was against right now - we wanted and needed a win,” said Raptors coach Jay Triano, whose team had dropped nine of 10.
“I shot it with confidence, and there wasn’t a doubt in my mind that it (was) going in,” said Bosh, who earlier became the first player in Raptors history to score 10,000 points. “I’m just glad it gave us the go-ahead to win the game.”
Having Bosh in the lineup for Friday’s matchup with the Thunder could help Toronto win consecutive games for the first time since Feb. 19-20. Bosh, one of three players in the NBA averaging at least 20.0 points and 10.0 rebounds, missed the Feb. 28 loss in Oklahoma City with a sprained left ankle.
Bosh had 21 points and 13 boards in Oklahoma City’s first visit to Toronto - a 112-96 Raptors win last March 27. Toronto has won three straight at Air Canada Centre against the Thunder franchise, which will try to record 20 victories on the road for the first time in five seasons.