Thunder vs. Raptors Preview

Monday, March 28th 2016, 7:07 am
By: News 9

The Thunder are surging toward the finish line with the playoffs right around the corner.

Oklahoma City (51-22) has won seven straight games and has scored at least 111 points in each. The Thunder will put that streak on the line in one of the NBA's more difficult environments on Monday when they head north of the border to face the Raptors.

Toronto (49-23) is securely nestled into the No. 2 spot in the Eastern Conference. The Raptors have an outside shot at catching Cleveland (2.5 games back) for the top seed so expect Toronto to have plenty of motivation on Monday.

As for the Thunder, it's almost ironic that they're now playing their best basketball at a time where the games are fairly meaningless as far as standings go. OKC will be the No. 3 seed out west barring a remarkable collapse in its past nine games. The Thunder, which have been pretty settled into that third spot for most of the season, have no real reason to surge into Toronto and win other than personal improvement and pride.

This time of the year is all about fine-tuning your product in preparation for the big show. That won't be easy against the upstart Raptors, which are 28-8 over their past 36 games. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan are combining for more than 45 points per game this season while DeMarre Carroll has been a crucial two-way addition on the wing.

OKC lost to Toronto 103-98 way back on Nov. 4, just the fifth game of the season. DeRozan's 28 points led the way as Toronto overcame Kevin Durant's 27 points and Russell Westbrook's 22 points and 16 assists.

Tip time from Toronto is set for 6:30 CT.