January 6, 2013 by slewfeet
The NHL lockout’s finally over, meaning I can go back to watching games I actually care about. So long, assholes!
Well, that’s what I would be saying if I weren’t too busy being bitter and disillusioned over the NHL being run by greedy bastards who have sold every bit of integrity the league has for a quick buck. Until further notice, it looks I’m sticking with whatever this game with the hoops and dinosaurs is called, much to the chagrin of anybody who likes any trace of optimism or quality in their Raptors reading.
The brutal loss to the Kings last game is going to be tough to overcome, especially against a team like the Thunder who are way, way, way, way, way better than the Raptors. Amir Johnson is being rewarded with a start for fouling out in 9 minutes on Friday, which can only end well.
Not even the highlights in Leo Rautins’ hair can help him sell this as actual punditry. Yes, Leo, teams do tend to allow fewer points when they win games. This is groundbreaking statistical work that everybody needs to hear.
Westbrook gets a steal off Calderon pretty much immediately, and then picks off his pass on the very next play, reminding us that this is a game where the point guard matchup is most likely going to kill us. Granted, the same applies for the forward and centre matchups, but maybe DeRozan will score 40 or something.
The Thunder draw first blood, as the Raptors are getting locked out of the interior pretty hard. This is still no excuse for that 28 foot guarded fadeaway from Pietrus just now. What an awful shot to take (aka: typical Pietrus).
DeRozan scores, then gets a steal and doesn’t miss the easy dunk, and with two big plays from Amir, the Raptors force their way into the game. On the downside, the Thunder are starting to make shots pretty much at will and respond with a 12-2 run.
Calderon makes his first shot in 5 tries, which should hopefully give him enough confidence to stop making all these sketchy passes. Anderson’s in for Pietrus and immediately picks off a bounce pass by kicking it into oblivion. Calderon pads his stats setting up Amir and Davis, and with a few Thunder turnovers suddenly their lead is cut to 23-18. OKC’s 2nd unit gets 4 offensive rebounds in a row but can’t drop, and the Raptors can’t make the last play of an ugly quarter. Thank god that’s finally over.
Alan Anderson drains our first three of the game, but Nick Collison and Reggie Jackson walk in for some easy points with the Raptors defense amounting to little more than their doormen. Another three from Anderson keeps us in this, and then Collison taps in a missed shot despite being surrounded by the entire Raptors lineup. Doesn’t matter – Anderson just can’t miss a shot tonight, and a four-point play will bring us to 36-34.
Apparently the Raptors have been using a cryogenic chamber as part of their physical therapy, which would explain them being ice-cold until just now.
That free throw from Ibaka had some of the goofiest looking posturing around the paint I’ve ever seen. Anderson very nearly falls over before it’s even taken, but gets the rebound, a layup, and yet another trey to put us in the lead. The crowd goes wild. I think Jack Armstrong just had an orgasm on air.
Fields tries to make a drive and clowns away the ball for a Thunder basket. Here’s a guy who desperately needs to find his niche, because he’s been contributing nothing so far other than bad puns for blog posts.
Everybody suddenly stops moving for some reason, giving Amir an easy two. Westbrook makes an absolutely filthy drive through the entire Raptors team, and again the Thunder decide to turn into statues and give another up to DeRozan undefended. We go to a shot of Quincy Acy going insane celebrating a previous Amir dunk, clutching at Anderson’s jersey and flailing around screaming in ecstasy. Quincy, please never change.
The half ends at 52-50 Thunder as a much more manageable game. Some shitty pasta commercial comes on featuring some tall guy with a girl’s name. Who’s this douchebag again?
Quarter three opens up with free throws for the Thunder after Pietrus is inexplicably allowed back on the court and quickly fouls someone. They now have 11 to the Raptors’ 1, but Amir is fouled as I type this and even exceeds expectations by hitting one of them.
Surprise of the game: Pietrus making an unguarded three. That has to be at least as inspiring as Alan Anderson’s ridiculous second quarter, or Amir still somehow having no fouls. Unfortunately, it just makes Pietrus think he can hit that again, which he can’t. Calderon, however, totally can and drains his attempt. Devlin and Armstrong think Pietrus is slumping; I’m pretty sure he just isn’t very good at basketball.
Westbrook makes a steal off Calderon, who keeps up with him all the way back to the paint but forgets the part where he needed to jump. No way, Jose. The Thunder can already essentially score whenever they feel like it, we don’t need to give those away too.
Dwane Casey has something to say about the disparity in free throws and tries working the refs a bit. The refs give him a technical and Lowry an offensive foul on the next possession, but the Thunder get a travelling call immediately thereafter. Lowry draws another foul and the quarter ends at a 78-67 deficit, which clearly makes everything worth it.
Amir finally gets his first foul of the night, and that’s mostly because Serge Ibaka sells it by sending himself flying. All things considered, this is a remarkable show of restraint, which probably means he’s due for a 5-game suspension soon.
DeRozan scores a monstrous dunk, and OKC’s lead shrinks to 84-71. Next possession features Amir shooting from the distance and Lowry rebounding, which goes about as well as can be expected. Pretty sure the time is ripe for a John Lucas substitution.
DeRozan’s run from behind and Dwane Casey is infuriated over the non-call. Kevin Durant gets a technical foul next play, and the Raptors hilariously come together for high fives. We might not come anywhere near winning the game, but we’ll be damned if we can’t have this small victory. Lowry misses the freebie anyways, which just makes it even funnier.
DeRozan and Anderson make a few free throws, Lowry and Westbrook trade threes, and the Thunder continue to add to their lead. Perkins with a monster dunk and Jackson with a three from what looked like 30 feet out, but Calderon gets fouled midjump, shoots off like a spring and miraculously sinks his shot like some glitched out video game play.
Jose’s quietly hit every shot since missing his first four to earn a double-double, and as usual, his court vision is so good that he can even see why kids love Cinnamon Toast Crunch. No idea how he’s only been credited with a single turnover though; this is a rare day where his game’s been weaker than his stats show.
What follows can only be described as legendary: Quincy Acy makes his garbage time cameo appearance and gets fouled twice, sinks all four free throws and hits a long jumper. Some other stuff happens and the game ends 104-92 for the Thunder in what Matt Devlin surely considers a ‘heartbreaking loss’, but who cares? It’s a career high for Quincy Acy and his beard.
Life is good.