Raptors lose, trio ejected as streak snaps

Annette Crawford
March 20, 2018

DeRozan, Serge Ibaka and Raptors coach Dwane Casey were all ejected in the final minute for complaining to the officials. A skeptic could certainly look at those games and say that perhaps, the Raptors not finding a way in the clutch to pick up wins against tough, playoff tested rosters indicates future playoff struggles, but that feels like a narrow scope to take, when the same stretch of games includes close victories over the Indiana Pacers, Washington Wizards, Miami Heat, and Houston Rockets, all of whom project to be playoff teams, and blowout wins over the Boston Celtics and Portland Trailblazers.

The Thunder have played 72 games. The Raptors shot 57 percent from the field.

Led by Russell Westbrook and his well-known friend, the triple-double, the Oklahoma City Thunder squeaked by the Toronto Raptors in a 132-125 shootout.

However, let's not get things twisted, the Thunder 100 percent deserved to win this game.

Raptors were up one after three quarters, the bench group had dominated the Thunder backups in the first half and he ran out a group that included none of Russell Westbrook, Paul George, Carmelo Anthony or Steven Adams.

The Thunder is mediocre offensively this season as they are 12 with an average of 107.4 points per game.

Thunder shooting guard Corey Brewer met him there.

Westbrook often stars, but his numbers on Sunday (37 points, 14 assists, 13 rebounds) were ridiculous.

Westbrook said after the game that, with only 10 games remaining in the season, "It's time to turn it up a notch".

Tatum scored 23 points, but the Celtics dropped their third in the last four games.

James Harden had 34 points and 12 assists, as Houston held off a fourth-quarter rally to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 129-120 for the Rockets' 26th win in 28 games. Brown is second at 14.1. Gordon Hayward (ankle) remains out.

But having struggled from beyond the arc for much of the game, going just 3-of-9, he chose to try and get himself going in another way and it certainly proved to be the right decision. That's the way a game tied at 123 a piece was going. Irving is battling a sore knee that has cost him a few games: he's questionable here. Oklahoma City is fourth in the West with their recent hot streak but the conference is so competitive that they're only four games ahead of the ninth-place Nuggets and only 4.5 in front of the 10 place Clippers. That puts a lot of pressure on other guys to step up and contribute on both ends of the floor. At the same time, that approach will have you missing out on one of the best experiences in the league, a team that has routinely delivered some of the most entertaining basketball this season, and a team that's shown resiliency in finding new ways to win as different challenges appeared.

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