Toronto Raptors (10-15) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (2-24)
Friday, December 19
Oklahoma City, OK
7:00 CST TV: Fox Sports Oklahoma (Cox 37, HD 722)
Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1 FM, 640 AM)
Can Nenad play tonight? No? Oh, well then nevermind - I thought the might be hope for tonight. Not much chance the Thunder can hang with Toronto's front line of Chris Bosh, Jermaine O'Neal and Andrea Bargnani. Bosh is going to be a near impossible matchup for Jeff Green. Green can stretch Bosh a little on the outside, but Bosh will likely be able to abuse Green in the post.
The Raptors come to Oklahoma City having lost eight of their last 10. Of course, the Thunder has lost their last 22 of 23. And it seems like any time a skidding team comes to OKC, it's kind of "Get back on track night." So that will likely be the case.
The Raps are pretty poor defensively so tonight's game could be a but of a high scoring affair. I'm really looking forward to the Russell Westbrook - Jose Calderon matchup. These are the type of opposing guards Russell was drafted to lock down on. The Raptors entire offense really relies on Calderon. He has to cut and slash into the defense and distribute because the Raptors really don't have guys that create on their own. Anthony Parker is a nice player but he's not great at getting his own shot. Jason Kapono is a straight up spot up shooter. Jamario Moon is a straight up athletic freak, but he's not a good shooter. So if Westbrook can limit Calerdon a little, it may make it tough for Toronto's line of bigs to get their points.
Even though OKC is 2-24, one thing I'm growing more excited to watch every night is Kevin Durant. As everybody has witnessed under Scott Brooks, he's just so much more efficient and productive. He's not forcing anything, but just letting the game flow and makes scoring 25 looks easy. When Jeff Green scores 14, it seems like I notice and remember every bucket. When Durant scores 30, it seems like it came out of nowhere. It is really an enjoyable thing to watch a player that works within the flow of an offense and just scores because the game is coming to him - it's not nearly as fun watching a guy force the action.
I have a kind of good feeling about tonight's game for some unknown and totally unfounded reason. But when a team is 2-24 and has lost the last 11 at home, you kind of feel like, "This HAS to be the one." But then again, I've been feeling that way for two weeks. Maybe OKC can keep it close and just have a chance in the fourth. At this point, that's what Thunder fans have been resigned to hoping for.