With seven different double-shot players shooting 61.2 percent off the ground, the Toronto Raptors managed to beat Oklahoma City Thunder 130-121 in a shootout at Chesapeake Energy Arena on Wednesday night.
This was an evening when Marc Gasol returned to the Raptors after missing the last 12 games with a thigh injury and starting with Serge Ibaka, Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby and Kyle Lowry in a huge lineup.
Since petrol is back in hand, Fred VanVleet is the only key that Raptor is still offside. This is an encouraging sign for a Toronto team that has been decimated from injuries throughout the season.
Here are some takeaways from a wild and entertaining win for the Raptors in OKC.
As already mentioned, the Raptors were offensively spectacular.
Its 61.2 percent mark has only been reached or exceeded ten times in franchise history and is the sixth best shooting performance of Raptors ever. Also, it was only the 18th time they scored 130 points or more in a game, and only the 11th in a non-overtime affair.
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With these gaudy numbers came impressive individual performances by the Raptors. Seven different players were rated in double digits. Here's a quick look at what each of them did:
Norman Powell: Powell had 23 points for 9-for-11 shooting and was 3-for-4 from a three-point range. He has been the most consistent goal scorer for Toronto all night and doesn't seem to have missed a stroke since returning home after an injury.
Pascal Siakam: Siakam ended the 9-against-15 shooting with 21 points. In contrast to the rust that started to appear on Sunday from the second quarter, Siakam looked like he had found his legs and felt much more comfortable on Wednesday.
Just do it yourself
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– Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) January 16, 2020
OG Anunoby: Anunoby also had 21 points, but perhaps the five templates and five rebounds he collected on Wednesday were more impressive. This was a nice sequel after a tough Sunday against the San Antonio Spurs.
Kyle Lowry: Lowry had 17 points and eight assists and seemed to freeze the game when he hit a determined, moving lineup to play at 2:20 in the middle of the lane, and then hit 1: with a jumper 25 left to give Toronto a seven-point pillow. This happened after it looked as if the Raptors could blow a 30-point lead in the fourth.
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Yup, Lowry period
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– Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) January 16, 2020
Serge Ibaka: Ibaka ended the 7v11 shoot with 15 points, but his best came in the first frame when he had 13 points in the perfect 6v6 shoot.
Marc Gasol: Gasol was excellent in his first game after an injury, scoring 15 points while handing out five groschen. It looks like the free time for Gasol worked wonders when he got engaged, energized and aggressive with his shot – something that is surely music for the ears of Raptors fans.
Terence Davis: Davis had 12 points and seven rebounds on Wednesday. His greatest moment in the game was the third quarter, when he hit a three-pointer towards the end of the third quarter to help the raptors keep their lead when thunder threatened.
A story in two halves
The Raptors led the game up to 30 points on Wednesday, but almost saw in the fourth quarter that this lead evaporated.
Toronto started the game very well, scoring 38 points in the first quarter with a shot of almost 70 percent before the first half ended with a 73-55 advantage.
In the third quarter, the Raptors got sloppy with the ball, turned it seven times and let OKC crawl back into the game and entered the fourth with only 14 points behind.
Then, in the last period, it was the defense of the Raptors that abandoned them when they allowed the Thunder to set up their own 38-point frame and saw that this 30-point gap was reduced to just three Points decreased 2:09 left to play.
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It was great entertainment when the game changed from a laugh to a nail biter, but this should continue to keep Toronto busy as it becomes a trend for the team.
If OKC had made the comeback, it would have been the third time in four games that the Raptors had a fourth-quarter lead.
The other two games in question are games against the Portland Trail Blazers last week and Sunday's game against the San Antonio Spurs. In each of these games, the main point of contention for the Raptors was their bad crime in the fourth quarter. However, this growing problem of poor final frame play may have more to do with defending the Raptors.
The offensive was fine on Wednesday, but the Raptors allowed OKC to score 33 points in the last quarter, which was very similar to the 32 and 36 points in the fourth quarter that the Blazers and Spurs had recently against the Raptors.
SGA remains hot
It wasn't the 20-20-10 triple-double masterpiece of his previous game, nor was it a 32-point performance like the one he had in Toronto a few days before the calendar changed to 2020, but the Canadian Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had a strong night against the Raptors on Wednesday.
The native of Hamilton, Ont., Ended his evening with 21 points, six rebounds and six assists while shooting 6-for-10 from the field and 2-for-2 from deep.
His free throws with 2:09 in the game brought the Thunder to three points and he was instrumental in putting the Thunder back in a position to possibly make a historic comeback, losing four centimeters in the fourth quarter alone ,
Despite the vigorous outing, this seemed to be a relatively common line for Gilgeous-Alexander. Perhaps the best compliment we can give the aspiring star now as it continues its outbreak campaign in its second year.