Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 11/6/12
OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Oklahoma City Thunder needed a win. Coming off a lackluster performance against the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday, the Thunder also needed a convincing performance. Oklahoma City achieved both goals Tuesday, rolling over the struggling Toronto Raptors 108-88 at the Chesapeake Energy Arena. The Thunder had six players score in double figures, led by Russell Westbrook, who had 19 points on 5-of-12 shooting. Serge Ibaka added 17 points, while Kevin Durant chipped in with 15 on only 11 shots. While the game should silence critics of the Thunder (2-2) for one night, the Raptors saw their struggles continue. Toronto (1-3) lost in every facet of the game. Jonas Valanciunas paced Toronto with 18 points, and Andrea Bargani had 16 points and six rebounds. Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks could see his team was playing uninspired basketball to start the season after reaching last season's NBA Finals. He wasn't worried because he knew it wouldn't last long. "I told the guys this morning that if we were a college team, the University of Thunder, and we went to the Maui Classic, I would be very concerned if we were 1-2," Brooks said before the game. "But there is a lot of basketball games to be played. If we would have one more (win), we would be 2-1 and everybody's feeling great." On a night when basketball had to compete with the presidential election for the fans' attention, the Thunder came out animated, intense and angry. It started with Thabo Sefolosha hitting his first three 3-pointers of the night and Durant throwing down dunks on top of Bargnani. However, the Thunder's defense provided the biggest spark. Oklahoma City forced Toronto into 33 percent shooting from the field in the first half as the Thunder jumped out to a 33-17 advantage early in second quarter. Oklahoma City led 57-38 at halftime. The Raptors tried to go to Kyle Lowry to break out of their cold shooting spell, but the combination of Westbrook and Eric Manor locked down Toronto's leading scorer on the season. Lowry was held to two points, and he didn't play in the second half after spraining his ankle. The loss of Lowry was a major blow to any chances the Raptors had of making a comeback. Toronto tried to ride Valanciunas back into the game, but he needed more help. Oklahoma City finished with 24 assists. The team's season high is 27. NOTES: Former Oklahoma State guard John Lucas III made his return to Oklahoma as a member of the Raptors, and he scored three points. Toronto is the third team he has played in the NBA in his five-year career. Lucas was out of the league from 2007-2010. ... Through the first three games of the season, Durant posted more than 22 points, 12 rebounds and five assists per game. The only other players in NBA history to accomplish the feat were Oscar Robertson (1961-62), Sidney Wicks (1972-73) and Kevin Garnett (2007-08). ... Lowry is looking to make the All-Star game. The Toronto point guard is off to a great start by leading his team in scoring (23.7 per game entering Tuesday), steals (3.67), rebounds (7.30) and assists (7.0).
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