SPORTS

DeRozan scores 16 points and Raptors defeat injury-riddled Thunder 100-88

11/04/2014 10:15 EST | Updated 01/04/2015 05:59 EST
TORONTO - When DeMar DeRozan was asked if there was anything positive to take away from such an ugly win as the Toronto Raptors' victory over injury-riddled Oklahoma City on Tuesday, he wiped a hand over his exasperated brow.

"A win. That's about it. A win," DeRozan said.

Kyle Lowry wasn't quite so generous.

"Naw, I don't think so," Lowry said.

DeRozan scored 16 points, and Lou Williams had nine of his 12 points in the fourth quarter as the Raptors defeated the Thunder 100-88 on Tuesday.

But it wasn't before allowing Oklahoma City to have its way for most of the first half, and shoot 76 per cent in the opening quarter, despite playing with just eight men — none of them named Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook.

"Some time this year, we're going to find some defence, from somebody, somewhere," coach Dwane Casey said. "I don't know when, but I'm going to find it."

Patrick Patterson had 14 points and eight rebounds, while Tyler Hansbrough had 12 points, and Greivis Vasquez finished with 10 for Toronto (3-1), which was missing Amir Johnson for the second straight game (sore ankle).

"We've just got to learn from it, we can't keep digging ourselves a hole, and expect to fight back and have everything fall in our hands," DeRozan said. "We can't give teams hope. If that's making sure we make a stop the first three or four plays, don't give them no confidence, we've got to do that."

Serge Ibaka virtually carried Oklahoma City (1-4), playing a whopping 46 minutes, scoring 25 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Lance Thomas had 14 points, while Reggie Jackson finished with 13.

Casey had predicted the game would be a "nightmare" against a team he called a "wounded animal," especially considering the Raptors have yet to play with the defensive effort he wants.

Casey clearly knew what he was talking about as the Thunder was in the game until the dying minutes.

"I've said this for weeks, we have no right to walk in and look at anybody and think its going to be an easy game," Casey said prior to tipoff.

The Raptors took a narrow 73-70 lead into the fourth quarter, and didn't go up by double digits until Williams' three-pointer with 9:23 to go put them up 83-72.

"We have to get better, and we will. We know we're not doing as good as we want to do," Vasquez said. "We're pissed. At ourselves. Because we should do better. We'll take care of that."

Toronto finally was able to cobble together a 16-point lead midway through the fourth, and while the Thunder pulled to within seven with three minutes to play, that's as close as they would come.

Sebastian Telfair was called for a flagrant foul and ejected with just under two minutes to play, leaving the Thunder to finish the game with just six men. (A right knee contusion had already taken Perry Jones out of the game early in the second half).

"I'm really encouraged by the guys," said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. "Last resort, I'll suit up with our guys. I would love to play with our guys. I love how they compete and that's the type of group I want to be associated with.

"I'd love to do it as long as it's not shirts and skins and I'm skins. You don't want to see my flabby body," he added. "But I love the guys' effort. That's what the game is all about."

Injury-bitten Oklahoma City is off to its worst start since going 1-15 in 2008-09. Durant — who sat courtside in a stylish blue suit and a protective walking boot — has a broken right foot, while Westbrook has a broken right hand. The Thunder was also without starting guard Andre Roberson, who sprained his foot a night earlier in the Thunder's 116-85 loss to Brooklyn.

Still, it was the Raptors who staggered out to the lacklustre start. They allowed Oklahoma City to hit eight of their first nine shots of the game to take a nine-point lead. The Thunder, which shot 12 for 17 in the frame, went into the second leading 30-23.

"I've told them until my eyes turn red. They've had that speech a lot," Casey said, on the Thunder's high shooting percentage. "Until it sinks in, it's going to be a roller-coaster."

The Raptors' second unit, which Casey singled out as the one big positive on the night, pulled Toronto to within two points midway through the second, and then on Toronto's last possession of the quarter, with 29 seconds on the clock, Lowry fired a pass from halfcourt to a soaring Ross who finished the alley-oop, sending the Raptors into the break trailing 52-51.

A layup by Lowry just under a minute into the second half gave Toronto a one-point lead — the Raptors' first lead since the opening two minutes of the game. A bucket by Hansbrough gave the Raptors a seven-point advantage with 1:23 to play, but the scrappy Thunder battled back to cut Toronto's lead to 73-70 with a quarter left to play.

The Raptors weren't immune to the injury bug Thursday, losing Jonas Valanciunas just before halftime when he collided with someone and suffered a facial contusion.

The Raptors were coming off a 107-102 loss at Miami on Sunday.

The Raptors are in Boston on Wednesday to play the Celtics then back home to host the Washington Wizards on Friday and the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday.

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