The Oklahoma City Thunder picked up their sixth straight win tonight. The win came over the Toronto Raptors who are currently the number one team in the East. This win is huge for showing exactly where this team stands against other top tier teams. The Thunder had their ups and downs tonight like most games, but they were ultimately able to pull out the victory.
Carmelo Anthony (8/15 for 18 points) had the hot hand for OKC to start off the game. He hit a couple shots from outside as well as a shot or two inside the paint. This was a huge part in the Thunder offense getting going early on. The defense at the start of the quarter was fantastic, but it slowly faded away as the guard play for Toronto started to find a rhythm. The Thunder blew their huge lead when they allowed the Raptors to go on a 17-3 run to end the first quarter.
The second quarter didn’t start out much better than the end of the first quarter. Billy Donovan was forced to call a timeout within the first minute. The timeout must have served as a wake up call for this team because they began to turn it around. After a couple of early fouls by Toronto and then a small altercation involving Russ and Valanciunas, the Thunder were in the bonus for the final seven minutes of the quarter. The dirty play of Toronto lead to a bunch of free throws which gave OKC the 66-63 lead at halftime. The 66 first half points is the most for the Thunder this season.
The typical third quarter slump for OKC was not a factor tonight. In fact, they scored 36 points in the third which was more than any other quarter for the game. It all started on the defensive end of things which led to offense. The entire Big 3 was knocking down shots and Steven Adams was cleaning up the glass on the inside.
Adams had a huge dunk in the fourth quarter that really brought this team to life. There was less than half of the quarter remaining. OKC was looking for that final push and Adams electrified the arena with this play. Due to the high level of play the Raptors couldn’t seem to score. The Thunder held Toronto to only 19 points in the final quarter.
It seems like this team is finally coming together. It’s hard to argue against that when OKC is on a six game win streak. This is currently the longest winning streak in the NBA. The Big 3 is falling in place with Russ as the leader, Paul George right behind him, and then Melo there as a third option. The starting lineup is deadly with Adams dominating the paint and Andre Roberson giving offenses all kinds of trouble with his outstanding defense.
Article written by Craig Hofeld. Follow @TheThunderGuys on Twitter and Instagram.