Photo Credit: Dan Hamilton/USA Today
The Raptors end a dreadful March tonight as they visit the Oklahoma City Thunder with hopes of snapping an eight game road losing streak.
Toronto is in the midst of one of their worst stretches in recent team history. Since surpassing the 0.500 mark at 16-15, the Raptors have lost 14 of their past 16 games, recording only one win this month. The playoffs continue to slip further away for Toronto, especially following Monday’s 118-104 loss to Detroit, their third loss to the lowly Pistons during this stretch.
The Raptors will meet the Thunder for the first time this year, having last played them before the pandemic. The Thunder have had their struggles as well this season, having lost five of their past seven games, sitting 13th in the Western Conference.
Oklahoma City has plenty of Canadian talent on their team, with two of their top three scorers coming from north of the border. Toronto born Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has had a breakout year, averaging 23.7 points per game while shooting over 50% from the field. Fellow Canadian, Luguentz Dort, from Quebec is also enjoying a career year, averaging nearly 13 points per game. Dort unfortunately will be held out of tonight’s game due to a concussion sustained on Saturday.
The Thunder also shut down veteran big man Al Horford for the season this past week as the team continues to commit towards their youth. Isaiah Roby and Moses Brown should see increased playing time for the Thunder, as will Darius Bazley once he returns from an injured shoulder. All three players are 23 or younger and should be a part of the team’s rebuild, along with the ample draft picks at their disposal.
The Raptors will need to rely on the team’s efficient three-point shooting tonight and will hope for the new addition, Gary Trent Jr., to provide a spark offensively. While struggling with his shot through his first three games with the team, Trent was able to score 15 on Monday, making three from beyond the arc.
Ahead of a four-game homestand starting on Friday against the Warriors, Toronto hopes to end their road drought tonight. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:00PM EST and can be seen on TSN.