Thunder take 123-102 win over Raptors
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Norris Cole (30) drives to the net past Toronto Raptors centre Lucas Nogueira (92), Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet (23) and Toronto Raptors forward Patrick Patterson (54) during second half NBA basketball action, in Toronto on Thursday, March 16, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Lori Ewing, The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, March 16, 2017 10:42PM EDT
TORONTO - The Toronto Raptors were virtual spectators for the Russell Westbrook show Thursday.
The Oklahoma City guard had 24 points, 16 assists and 10 rebounds for his 34th triple double of the season, as the Thunder roared past the Raptors 123-102 for their fourth straight win.
Westbrook, who took less than three quarters to notch his triple-double, now needs just seven more to beat Oscar Robertson's single-season record.
DeMar DeRozan scored 22 points to lead the Raptors (39-29), who have won just once in their last four games. Norman Powell had 13 points while Cory Joseph added 11 and Delon Wright chipped in with 10 for Toronto, which shot a woeful 5-for-20 from three-point range.
Victor Oladipo added 23 points for the Thunder (39-29).
With 14 games left in the regular season, the Raptors are trying to claw their way back up the Eastern Conference standings. They were fourth and two games behind third-place Washington to start the night.
The Raptors, wearing their Drake-inspired black and gold uniforms, never led. One decent but brief stretch during the second quarter pulled Toronto to within two points, but Westbrook and the Thunder quickly extinguished any hopes of a comeback, stretching their lead to as many as 27 points in the third quarter.
Leading 97-70 to start the fourth, the Thunder would go up by 30 points with just under nine minutes to play when Enes Kanter converted a three-point play. The Thunder's biggest lead was 32 points before both coaches went to their benches for mop-up duty.
Thunder coach Billy Donovan praised Westbrook pre-game, calling him an “old-school guy” when it comes to effort.
“He lines up every night and he goes up and plays. It's amazing for 82 games,” Donovan said. “There have been games maybe he hasn't played up to the level that he's wanted to play to. But I don't think there's been a game this year he's came off the floor and thought I didn't leave it all out there.”
Raptors guard Kyle Lowry, meanwhile, had his injured wrist examined Wednesday.
“It's on schedule, on time,” coach Dwane Casey said. “There's still no timetable or anything like that. But everything checked out and is where it should be.”
The Thunder sprinted out to an 11-point lead, but the Raptors closed the first quarter with a 10-4 run to cut Oklahoma City's advantage to 29-24 heading into the second.
The Raptors pulled to within two points on a jumper by Jonas Valanciunas midway through the second, but Westbrook orchestrated an 18-6 Thunder run - either scoring or assisting on every basket - and Oklahoma City was back up by 14 points. The visitors took a 58-48 advantage into halftime.
The Raptors are in Detroit on Friday then return home to host Indiana on Sunday and Chicago on Tuesday.