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News » Raptors-Thunder Preview

Raptors-Thunder Preview

Raptors-Thunder Preview
With eight losses in their last 10 games, the Toronto Raptors are in the midst of a substantial slump.

Of course, it's nothing compared to what the Oklahoma City Thunder are enduring.

The Raptors look to avoid dropping their fourth straight game on Friday when they open a season-high six-game road trip against the Thunder, who are trying to avoid losing for the 23rd time in their last 24 games.

Toronto (10-15) made its second straight trip to the playoffs in 2007-08, and won eight of its first 15 games this season, but very little has gone right since. The Raptors have fallen into last place in the Atlantic Division, and are 2-6 since Jay Triano replaced Sam Mitchell as coach Dec. 3.

Toronto's last two losses have been especially disappointing.

On Monday, the Raptors squandered a 10-point lead late in the third quarter in a 94-87 loss to New Jersey. Two days later, Toronto led Dallas by 12 points after one quarter, but went on to lose 96-86.

Jermaine O'Neal led the Raptors with 19 points against the Mavericks, while Chris Bosh finished with 12 points on just 6-of-20 shooting. Toronto was outrebounded 47-37 on Wednesday, and has been outrebounded in each of its last 14 games.

"That's how it goes sometimes," said Bosh, who is averaging 18.0 points on 30.8 percent shooting during the Raptors' three-game skid. "I think everybody hits a rough patch, unfortunately for us, we're in the middle of it right now. The only way you get out of it is to come out the next game and try to get the next one, don't dwell on anything, don't think about it, just go out there and play, and whatever happens play as hard as you can."

Oklahoma City (2-24) is going through more than just a rough patch.

The Thunder have dropped eight straight games since a 111-103 win over Memphis on Nov. 29 snapped a franchise record-tying 14-game losing streak. They've also gone nearly seven weeks without a victory at the Ford Center, as they've lost a franchise-record 11 straight home games since beating Minnesota 88-85 on Nov. 2.

The Raptors, meanwhile, have lost six of their last eight on the road, and won't return home until playing Denver on New Year's Eve.

The Thunder lost to the Los Angeles Clippers 98-88 on Tuesday, and are now 1-12 under interim coach Scott Brooks, the same record they had when P.J. Carlesimo was fired.

"We need to be better consistently. Right now, anything that we're doing on the road or at home is not working," center Chris Wilcox said. "We've got to come together, keep our heads up and just keep lifting each other up."

Kevin Durant had another strong outing Tuesday, as he scored a team-high 25 points on 9-of-18 shooting. The reigning Rookie of the Year is averaging 28.8 points on 50.5 percent shooting in his last five games, and scored 47 points in two games against Toronto last season.

The Raptors and Thunder split the two-game series in 2007-08 for the third straight season.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: December 19, 2008


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