Raptors 104, Thunder 98

Michael Kinney, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange


OKLAHOMA CITY -- Kyle Lowry scored 22 points in leading the Toronto Raptors to a 104-98 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder Sunday at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.
The loss ended the Thunder's 13-game home win streak to start the season. It also put a halt to a nine game overall win streak.
With 4:34 left in the fourth quarter, Raptors (11-14) guard John Salmons tied the game with a jumper. Center Jonas Valanciunas and guard Kyle Lowry scored five straight and the Thunder found themselves trailing 98-93 with 2:20 remaining.
But Oklahoma City (22-5) responded with a pair of forward Perry Jones III free throws and a Durant 3-point at the top of the key to tie the game. Guard DeMar DeRozen answered with a jumper to give the Raptors a two point lead.
The Thunder had a couple of chances to tie the game or take the lead, but their shots were off the mark. After a mad scramble for a loose ball, Toronto got possession with 25 seconds left. Forward Amir Johnson was fouled and knocked in a pair to pushed lead to four with 14.5 on the clock.
Durant's shot was off the mark and Lowry put the contest away with a trip to the free-throw line.
Westbrook paced the Thunder with 27 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Durant scored 24 points on 5-for-16 shooting. Lowry also collected nine assists, seven rebounds and four steals for the Raptors. Johnson and DeRozen each scored 17 points in the win.
When the night started, the Raptors showed they weren't the least bit intimated by the Thunder's staggering success at home. Derozen and Lowry helped Toronto take a 25-21 lead in the first quarter. The duo combined for 14 points in the period and were on the ground fighting for loose balls.
With the success of guards Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb coming off the Thunder bench this season, Jones has gotten lost in the shuffle.
But with his team trailing in the second period, Jones came off the bench and provided the Thunder with a spark. He scored six points in six minutes and gave Oklahoma a 43-38 lead before heading back to the bench.
Johnson caught fire and put Toronto back in front. But it was Lowry, who scored the team's final five points of the half that gave the Raptors a 62-56 halftime advantage. That included knocking down three free throws after being fouled with one second on the game clock.
Toronto looked like it had caught Oklahoma City on the right night when it stormed out to a 68-57 lead to begin the third period. The Thunder starters were dragging around the court as the Raptors outhustled them to rebounds and loose balls.
But at that point, Durant and Westbrook found an extra gear as Oklahoma City outscored Toronto 27-7 to close out their period.
NOTES: Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey found himself siding with Oklahoma City C Kendrick Perkins when it comes to opposing players coming into the locker room. "You have to have some sanctity," Casey said. "I have a lot of friends in the NBA, but I don't like buddy, buddy before the game. The guy is trying to take your livelihood. We don't have a rule in our locker room, but I agree with Perk." ... Thunder coach Scott Brooks said his team does not have a defined sixth man. On any given night, Reggie Jackson, Jeremy Lamb, Nick Collison or Steven Adams could be the first player off the bench. "Reggie has done a great job," Brooks said. "But we feel that Jeremy has, Steve and Nick. Whoever goes into that lineup, whether first or last guy off the bench, I have confidence in them.