When you don’t hit a bucket in the game’s final 5:13, you probably won’t win.
That held true for the Thunder on Wednesday night as they blew multiple eight-point fourth-quarter leads and lost to the Toronto Raptors 103-98 at Chesapeake Arena. Toronto ended the game on a 12-1 run.
Oklahoma City missed its final six field goal attempts, four of which came from Russell Westbrook. The Thunder offense was isolation-heavy down the stretch with Westbrook as the head of the snake. As a result, Durant only got up two shots in the final five minutes.
The Raptors (5-0), coming off a back-to-back, were far more aggressive than the Thunder. Toronto shot 32 of 29 from the foul line, with DeMar Derozan hitting 14 of 15 by himself. Derozan’s free throw totals were higher than the Thunder’s collective totals of 12 of 14.
“We started fouling too much,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “We put them to the free throw line … we struggled defensively in the second half and certainly we fouled too much and put Derozan too much to the free throw line.
“If you look at our defense when we didn’t foul, we actually did a fairly decent job.”
Derozan’s 28 points led all scorers. He scored 10 of Toronto’s final 20 points. Kyle Lowry and Jonas Valanciunas each added 17 points and DeMarre Carroll chipped in 13.
This was the Thunder’s night until it wasn’t. Westbrook’s 22 points and 16 assists paced Oklahoma City, while Durant’s 27 points and seven rebounds came as quietly as ever. Enes Kanter dropped 15 and six off the Thunder bench in just 17 minutes. Kanter, despite shooting better than 55 percent and making more than $16 million, is averaging fewer than 20 minutes per night.
Not helping OKC's cause were the 19 turnovers. Westbrook's eight will make the headlines, but he wasn't the only culprit. D.J. Augustin, who played 13 minutes and didn't score, coughed it up four times.
"Too many turnovers (from) myself," Augustin said. "We didn't get stops at the end and they just played harder than us tonight. Our turnovers and our defense lost this game for us."
The Thunder will look to snap its two-game skid in Chicago on Thursday. It’ll be OKC’s second back-to-back of the week.