Toronto Raptors: Oklahoma City Shuts Down DeMar DeRozan Again This Season

By Michael Roberts
Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Raptors hung around for three quarters before the Oklahoma City Thunder showed why they’re one of the league’s best teams.

The Raptors compete level cannot be questioned in a game they lost 104-92 at home to the Thunder. Toronto simply lost to a better team.

Kevin Durant made his only visit to Canada this season a memorable one, displaying his talents by recording 22 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Late in the game, Durant delivered a highlight reel sequence by crossing over DeMar DeRozan at the three-point line then dribbling to the basket for a finger roll lay-up as two Raptors attempted to protect the rim.

The 6-foot-10 superstar’s superior skillset was shared throughout his team as 27-6 Oklahoma City overwhelmed 12-22 Toronto on both ends of the floor.

The Thunder showed why they are one of the best defensive teams in the league by shutting down DeRozan for the second time this season. On Nov. 6, Oklahoma City defeated the Raptors 108-88 on their home court and held the Toronto guard to only eight points on 2 of 10 shooting from the field.

The story wasn’t much different on the Raptors’ home court as DeRozan finished with 11 points while shooting 4 for 16 from the floor. The Thunder have done an excellent job of containing Toronto’s top scorer, leading the way to a season sweep of the Raptors.

DeRozan has competed hard in both games but the defensive attention put towards the 6-foot-6 guard has been too much for him to handle. It hasn’t helped Toronto has been unable to find a consistent secondary scoring option to take pressure off their player to produce. The team has plenty of players on the roster capable of contributing but behind DeRozan it has been a revolving door of second leading scorers. Whether it’s Kyle Lowry or Jose Calderon having a big game at the point or a bench player like Terrence Ross or Alan Anderson, the team has scorers but nobody they can depend on night in and night out like DeRozan.

With Andrea Bargnani still out for the foreseeable future it’s unlikely the Raptors will be able to find a consistent secondary offensive threat.

Toronto’s compete level is exactly what is needed to win games in the NBA. However, if they can’t find more consistent scoring to help out DeRozan then the framework to defeat the team is in the open for everyone in the league to see.

Slow down DeRozan and the Raptors struggle to score.

Michael covers ACC and Big East basketball along with the Toronto Raptors for Rant Sports, you can follow him on Twitter @MichaelxRoberts

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