Raptors 112 Thunder 96
TORONTO — Shawn Marion scored plenty of points for the Toronto Raptors on Friday, but it was the generous nature of his teammates that the forward found more impressive.
Marion scored 14 of his 20 points in the third quarter as the Raptors won their third game in a row, 112-96 over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Marion, who was an impressive 7-for-8 shooting in the third, finished the game with 20 points and 11 rebounds. But after the game he preferred to talk about the guys distributing the ball rather than dunking it.
“We we’re moving the ball, when everybody is getting off the ball and making quick-decision passes, it makes the game that much easier,” Marion said of the Raptors’ 36-assist effort.
Chris Bosh also recorded a double-double, with 21 points, 13 rebounds and six assists for the Raptors, who matched their longest winning streak of the season.
The Raptors got off to a quick start thanks to some aggressive defence. The Thunder turned the ball over five times in the first quarter, leading to 12 points by the Raptors.
“We knew we wanted to come out and play aggressive on defence,” Bosh said. “We tried to protect the paint and give them one contested shot. When we did that, we got out and ran and everyone was touching the ball. It was fun basketball.” Toronto (27-45) entered the third quarter with a 51-40 lead, and they quickly extended it as Marion dunked off a long feed from Bosh and Andrea Bargnani nailed a three.
The Raptors were up by 21 points at the 6:48 mark. The Thunder managed to get as close as 14 points but Marion reeled off six points in the final three minutes of the quarter, including a running slam dunk, to restore the Raptors’ lead to 19 at the end of the third.
The Raptors, who were 8-of-18 from the three-point line, didn’t look back in the fourth, extending their lead to 25 points before sitting all their starters.
Jason Kapono added 15 points for Toronto, Bargnani had 12 points and nine rebounds and Anthony Parker had 12 points. Jose Calderon, who was bothered by a sore finger after Wednesday’s win over the Milwaukee Bucks, finished with seven points and nine assists.
The Thunder (26-46) were lead on the scoresheet by Nick Collison with 21 points and seven rebounds. The Raptors managed to hold Kevin Durant to 18 points on 4-for-13 shooting. Durant had come into the game as the league’s fourth-leading scorer with 25.9 points per game.
“I thought Shawn (Marion) did an outstanding job guarding (Durant),” Raptors coach Jay Triano said. “To hold him to four field goal attempts he’s going to get fouled and he’s a great player but Shawn was just kind of there all night.”
The Raptors, who are now 3-1 on their current homestand, seemed to build on the momentum they gathered in the victory over the Bucks, when they set season-highs with 12 three-pointers and 35-for-40 shooting from the free-throw line.