Oklahoma City Thunder
April 8, 2012 by staff
Oklahoma City Thunder, A three-game losing streak has cost Oklahoma City its spot atop the Western Conference and the Thunder hope to get things moving in the right direction again when they host the Toronto Raptors.
Danny Granger netted 26 points on Friday as the Indiana Pacers held off a late charge to defeat Oklahoma City, 103-98, on Friday.
Kevin Durant scored 44 points, including 17 in the fourth quarter of that one, but the Thunder could not overcome a 24-point second-half deficit despite making it a three-point game late in the fourth. Russell Westbrook added 21 points but shot just 7-for-23 from the field.
“We dug ourselves a big hole. We fought and fought, we just couldn’t get over the hump,” Durant said. “They made shots, tough shots. They’re a really good team.”
After leading the West for most of the season, Oklahoma City finds itself percentage points behind surging San Antonio for the No. 1 seed. The Thunder have dropped the three straight while the Spurs have won 10 in a row, including a 128-103 rout of the Hornets on Friday, to turn the tables.
The Raptors lost for the first time in four games on Friday, falling to Cleveland 84-80 at Air Canada Centre.
DeMar DeRozan scored a game-high 28 points, while Andrea Bargnani added 19 points and seven boards for the Raptors, who were without starting point guard Jose Calderon (swollen eye).
“We played a great third quarter defensively, and then we missed covering Jamison about 10 times in the fourth quarter,” admitted Bargnani after the loss. “There’s no excuse. You play a good third quarter and then have a fourth quarter like that.”
Forward James Johnson dressed against Cleveland but sat out a second straight game in what looks like a disciplinary matter but coach Dwane Casey again wouldn’t address it directly.
“He’ll be available to play (Sunday), he was available to play (Friday),” Casey said. “We chose as a staff not to play him. We’re going to build the program the right way, we’re going to do things the right way.”
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