If there was ever a time to apply a cliche like “too little, too late”, this would be that time, but it is nice to see the Raptors actually win a couple of games in a row with the chance to make that three in a row tonight. They couldn’t have asked for a better opponent to face when trying to get that third straight win, but then again, this was also a Thunder team that smacked the Raptors around earlier in the season.
This season, the Raptors haven’t done the greatest job of shutting down star players, unless they have been matched up against Bargnani. So with Kevin Durant coming to town having the kind of season he is having, you would have to hope that the Raptors are able to find some way of shutting the young gun down. Durant is fourth in the league in scoring, averaging 25.9 points per game. You could argue that there aren’t many options on the Thunder, so Durant is going to get his touches, which has resulted in his high average, but to do that would be shortsighted. Durant is making good decisions and his athleticism has allowed him to expose slower players on D. If the Thunder can pick up a couple of players in the next couple of seasons, they could turn into something special if Durant hangs around.
Rebounding has been a problem all season for the Raptors and it could be something that comes to the forefront again tonight. The Thunder do a good job of getting on the offensive glass, so it will be important for the Raptors to set the tone early as far as pulling down some rebounds. Bosh and Bargs will both need to come out sharp in the first quarter to establish dominance.
3 in the Key
1. Jose needs to keep that aggressive style of play going. Whether it is just his health returning to him or not, he looks like a different player in the past couple of games.
2. Limit the second chance points. Pulling down defensive boards will be vital.
3. Don’t let Durant get into a groove or it could be an embarrassing night.