Raps hit rock bottom with loss to Thunder

If this isn't rock bottom, it's going to take a visit to the D-League to beat it.

It was so bad last night that the only one or two quarters of good Basketball the Raptors had played in their last three losses would not only have been welcome last night, but might have won them the game.

Instead, they took the kind of holiday-season gift a visit to Oklahoma City at this stage in their development should be and turned it into the veritable coal-in-the-stocking gift usually reserved for the worst little kids.

And last night, the Raptors were that bad.

They did come out with a better fourth quarter than the previous three, but that turned out to be too little, too late.

At one point they tied the game on a Chris Bosh dunk with about four minutes to go, but the Thunder would not be denied.

Hustle plays like Nick Collison diving to the floor to outwrestle Bosh for a key rebound in the dying minutes turned the game in the Thunder's favour as it went on to win just its third game of the season by a 91-83 final.

Kevin Durant led all scorers with 24 points as the Thunder tasted victory on its home court for just the second time this season.

There definitely were signs, though, that at least one Raptor is seriously losing his patience with this skid.

Bosh, who was all but invisible in the first half, made amends in the second and wasn't sparing anyone's feelings on the way to the comeback win.

Bosh, who had just five points and eight rebounds in the first half, finished the night with 21 and 16 was demanding the ball in the second half.

When his teammates weren't getting it to him, he voiced in his displeasure.

Roko Ukic got an earful from the Raptors' franchise player in the third quarter after Bosh muscled his man out of the way to get open only to see Roko swing the ball the other way.

Late in the fourth, it was Jamario Moon hearing it from Bosh in a very public tongue-lashing as he let Moon know in no uncertain terms just what he thought of Moon's defensive efforts.

The Raptors' opening three quarters looked a lot like the fourth quarters they have played in back-to-back losses to the Dallas Mavericks and New Jersey Nets.

Bosh's only points of the first quarter came from a dunk with even a few under-the-basket opportunities failing to fall.

The Thunder were by no means dominant, but clearly the better team through the first 36 minutes.

For a change, the Raptors were not dominated on the glass from the outset, but that was the only positive until they reached the fourth quarter.

More bad news came midway through the second when Jermaine O'Neal, who earlier in the game was clutching at his left shoulder, came out for Kris Humphries and walked right past the bench and into the locker room. He did not return.

The 36 points at the half was one more than the Raps' season low, which came in a loss in Denver that ultimately cost Sam Mitchell his job.

The Raps shot just 28.9 per cent in the first half with the seven points by Andrea Bargnani and Joey Graham (both of whom came off the bench) sharing the team high.

Jose Calderon's six points were tops among Raptors starters.

Raptors head coach Jay Triano spent the better part of the practice Thursday and the morning shootaround yesterday hammering home the point that the Raptors had what it took to get out of their funk and had proven it in stretches even during the last three losses.

It was just a matter of extending those good periods.

Last night there were even fewer good periods, which leads only to more questions about this Basketball club this morning.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 21, 2008