Rebounding and Balance Propel OKC Past Raptors

After a three-game skid, the Thunder found a way to their 20th win of the season by defeating the Toronto Raptors, a team that has now lost 13 of their last 14 games, 113-103.

Once again, Sam Presti did all that he could to put the Thunder in the best position to lose this game, but the Raptors and their poor shot selection down the stretch crushed Presti’s dreams on Wednesday night.

OKC defeated Toronto primarily off their rebounding, with a season-high 64 rebounds to the Raptors’ 35.

The Thunder threw out the unorthodox lineup of Kenrich Williams, Isaiah Roby, Moses Brown, Svi Mykhailiuk, and Theo Maledon and still managed to have four guys in the starting lineup with nine or more rebounds, including all five starters scoring in double figures.

Mykhailiuk was the high-point man for the Thunder with 22 points and nine rebounds, while Brown scored 21 and compiled 11 rebounds on the night. The Thunder almost made history with four players recording a double-double, but only two did. Isaiah Roby was the second player with a double-double with 17 points and ten rebounds. Williams was just shy with 10 points and nine rebounds.

Again, the Thunder defeated the Raptors due to their dominance on the boards. That’s a bit of a surprise, considering the Raptors have a seven-footer in Aaron Baynes and above-average rebounders in Pascal Siakam, Chris Boucher, and OG Anunoby (who led the Raptors with 11 points). Somehow, the Thunder almost doubled them up in total rebounds while completely dominating in second-chance points, 30-9, and as a result, outscored them in points in the paint, 44-34. That’s not to mention the fact that OKC only shot 45.8 percent from inside the paint, or else this game would have been a blowout.

Toronto started hot from three, which parlayed into a 14-point lead in the first half, but OKC stuck to their gameplan and picked up their 20th win of the season.

The Thunder will travel to their next two games, one coming Friday against former Thunder Chris Paul and the Phoenix Suns, and the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday. Both of which are playoff teams.

Addam M. Francisco

Founder & Editor-in-Chief. National Association of Black Journalists. University of Central Oklahoma.

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