THUNDER AT RAPTORS PREGAME NOTES: The Raptors shot .524 (44-for-84) from the field, including .714 (15-for-21) in the first quarter, Saturday night at Boston. Toronto is 7-0 this season when it shoots 50 per cent from the floor and 18-3 when it finishes with a better field goal percentage than its opponent.

GAME #33 – TORONTO RAPTORS (22-10) vs. OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER (16-15) SUNDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2019 – 6 P.M. (ET) – SCOTIABANK ARENA TV: SPORTSNET ONE – RADIO: SPORTSNET 50 THE FAN

RAPTOR NOTES

• The Toronto Raptors play the second game of a back-to-back set Sunday night when they host the Oklahoma City Thunder at Scotiabank Arena. The Raptors and Thunder split the season-series in 2018-19 with the road team winning both contests. Kyle Lowry sat out both games vs. Oklahoma City last season with a right ankle sprain. The Thunder have won four in a row at Scotiabank Arena.

Kyle Lowry scored a game high-tying 30 points (10-17 FG, 5-10 3PT, 5-6 FT) in 39 minutes of action Dec. 28 at Boston. Lowry has now scored 30 or more in three of the last four games (Dec. 22-28). He is averaging 26.5 points, while shooting .486 (36-74) from the floor and .429 (18-42) from three-point range during this stretch. Lowry has reached the 30-point mark four times this season; something he did once last season and three times during the 2017-18 campaign.

• The Raptors shot .524 (44-for-84) from the field, including .714 (15-for-21) in the first quarter, Saturday night at Boston. Toronto is a perfect 7-0 this season when it shoots 50 per cent from the floor and 18-3 when it finishes with a better field goal percentage than its opponent.

• December is Toronto’s busiest month of the season with 16 games and includes three back-to-back sets. The Raptors’ 11 games at Scotiabank Arena tie the franchise record for most home games in a calendar month – Toronto also played 11 games at home in March 2016. The Raptors will play 10-of-15 games on the road in the month of January.

Fred VanVleet currently ranks second in the NBA in steals per games (2.15). VanVleet recorded five steals Saturday night against the Celtics and has now totaled 12 steals over the last three games (Dec. 23- 28). He is the first Raptor since DeMar DeRozan (Oct. 23-27, 2017) to register three or more steals in three straight games. VanVleet has registered at least three steals in nine games this season.

• The Raptors finished with a season-best +22 (53-to-31) rebounding differential Dec. 28 at Boston. Toronto had a 15-7 advantage on the offensive glass and outscored the Celtics 23-5 in second-chance points. Serge Ibaka posted his fifth double-double in the last 10 games (Dec. 9-28) with 20 points and a gamehigh 10 rebounds in 30 minutes at Boston.

Marc Gasol (left hamstring; strain), Pascal Siakam (groin; stretch) and Norman Powell (left shoulder; subluxation) were all injured Dec. 18 at Detroit. Toronto is 3-2 over the last five games without them. The Raptors are averaging 112.4 points and shooting .465 (200-for-430) from the field during this span.

Terence Davis ll is one of the five rookies who’ve played in every game for their team this season, along with Darius Bazley (Oklahoma City), Darius Garland (Cleveland), Kendrick Nunn (Miami) and Coby White (Chicago). Only two rookies have played in every game of a season for the Raptors: Vince Carter in 1998– 99 (which was a lockout-shortened 50-game season) and Matt Bonner (2004–05).

Kyle Lowry needs 105 assists to tie Jose Calderon (3,770) as the Raptors’ all-time leader in assists. Lowry is already the franchise leader in three-point field goals (1,284), steals (770) and playoff victories (37). Lowry has recorded 10+ assists 110 times – second most in team history behind only Calderon (141).

PROBABLE STARTERS

F – PATRICK McCAW #22

MIN: 25.7 REB: 2.5 AST: 1.8 STL: 1.2 TO: 1.3 BLK: 0.1 PTS: 5.6

Recorded a season-best 18 points, seven rebounds and a career-high eight assists Dec. 28 at Boston. • Averaging 8.8 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 31.0 minutes in five games as a starter. • Has played at least 20 minutes in a career-long eight straight games (Dec. 14-18).

F – OG ANUNOBY #3

MIN: 29.7 REB: 5.7 AST: 1.6 STL: 1.1 TO: 1.4 BLK: 0.8 PTS: 11.2

• Finished with seven points and four rebound in 15 minutes before fouling out Dec. 28 at Boston. • Toronto is 14-3 this season when Anunoby scores 10 or more points (Last: 15 – Dec. 23 at Indiana). • Averaging 11.0 points (.477 FG%), 5.9 rebounds and 29.3 minutes through 14 games in December.

C – SERGE IBAKA #9

MIN: 24.3 REB: 7.6 AST: 1.2 STL: 0.5 TO: 2.0 BLK: 1.0 PTS: 13.9

• Posted fifth double-double of the season with 20 points and a game-high 10 rebounds Dec. 28 at Boston. • Averaging 16.8 points, 8.4 rebounds and 30.9 minutes in the last five games as a starter. • Has scored in double figures in 12-of-14 games in December; averaging 13.9 points this month.

G – KYLE LOWRY #7

MIN: 38.1 REB: 5.0 AST: 7.6 STL: 1.2 TO: 3.2 BLK: 0.3 PTS: 20.8

• Scored a team-high 30 points Dec. 28 at Boston; added seven assists in 39 minutes Dec. 28 at Boston. • Averaging 20.2 points, 5.5 rebounds, 8.2 assists and 39.3 minutes through 13 games in December. • Has scored 20+ points in six of the last seven games (Dec. 16-28); averaging 24.6 points during this stretch.

G – FRED VANVLEET #23

MIN: 36.4 REB: 3.9 AST: 6.9 STL: 2.2 TO: 2.6 BLK: 0.2 PTS: 18.1

• Contributed 18 points, three rebounds, five assists and five steals in 37 minutes Dec. 28 at Boston. • Ranks second in the NBA in steals per games (2.15) and fifth in minutes (36.4). • Has recorded five double-doubles this season; something he did once in first three NBA seasons combined.

INJURY REPORT: Marc Gasol (Left hamstring; strain) – Out Dewan Hernandez (Right ankle; sprain) – Out Norman Powell (Left shoulder; subluxation ) – Out Pascal Siakam (Groin; stretch) – Out Matt Thomas (Left middle finger; distal phalanx fracture) – Out

THUNDER NOTES

LAST GAME STARTERS

No. Player Pos. Ht. Wt. Birthdate Prior to NBA/Home Country Yrs. Pro

23 Terrance Ferguson G 6-7 190 05/17/98 Adelaide 36ers/USA 3

7 Darius Bazley F 6-8 208 06/12/00 Princeton HS/USA R

12 Steven Adams C 7-0 265 07/20/93 Pittsburgh/New Zealand 7

2 Shai Gilgeous-Alexander G 6-6 181 07/12/98 Kentucky/Canada 2

3 Chris Paul G 6-0 175 05/06/85 Wake Forest/USA 15

RESERVES

30 Deonte Burton G 6-5 240 01/31/94 Iowa State/USA 2

6 Hamidou Diallo G 6-5 202 07/31/98 Kentucky/USA 2

5 Luguentz Dort** G 6-4 215 04/19/99 Arizona State/Canada R

8 Danilo Gallinari F 6-10 233 08/08/88 Olimpia Milano/Italy 12

15 Kevin Hervey** F 6-9 230 07/09/96 UT-Arlington/USA R

\Mike Muscala F/C 6-11 240 07/01/91 Bucknell/USA 7

11 Abdel Nader F 6-6 225 09/25/93 Iowa State/Egypt 3

9 Nerlens Noel F/C 6-11 220 04/10/94 Kentucky/USA 6

13 Justin Patton C 7-0 241 06/14/97 Creighton/USA 3

21 Andre Roberson G/F 6-7 210 12/04/91 Colorado/USA 7

17 Dennis Schröder G 6-1 172 09/15/9

3 NY Phantoms Braunschweig/Germany 7 **Signed to a Two-Way Contract

HEAD COACH Billy Donovan (Providence) ASSISTANT COACHES Brian Keefe (UNLV) Maurice Cheeks (West Texas State) Mark Daigneault (UConn) Vin Bhavnani (USC) Dave Bliss (Georgia) Mike Wilks (Rice) David Akinyooye (Adelphi) DIRECTOR OF QUALITY CONTROL Billy Schmidt (Wake Forest) VP OF HUMAN & PLAYER PERFORMANCE Dr. Donnie Strack (Indianapolis)


INJURY REPORT: Hamidou Diallo is OUT (right elbow; hyperextension sprain) Danilo Gallinari is OUT (left ankle; soreness) Andre Roberson is OUT (left knee; injury recovery) Dennis Schröder is OUT (right ankle; soreness).

On the Road Again: Oklahoma City looks to earn its 11th win in 15 games and sixth in the last seven by traveling to Toronto to take on the Raptors. In December, OKC has earned a 9-4 record and has outscored opponents by 45 points, good for the fifth best +/- rating in the Western Conference. The Thunder holds a 7-3 record when playing the Raptors in Toronto and has won each of the last four road matchups by an average of 11.0 points per game. Following this contest, the Thunder will return home to host the Dallas Mavericks on New Year’s Eve.

Win the Week: Dennis Schröder was named NBA Player of the Week for Week 9 after leading the Thunder to a perfect 4-0 week behind averages of 25.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 6.0 assists, shooting 50.7 percent from the field and 92.6 percent from the free throw line. He is now just the fourth player in the last 20 years to earn POW honors as a reserve (Lou Williams 2018, Markieff Morris 2013, J.R. Smith 2013).

Dennis the Menace: Dennis Schröder has produced five straight games with 20+ points off the bench, the longest such streak in OKC history and the longest across all NBA reserves in the last two years. This is part of a 14-game streak in which Schröder has scored 15+ points as a reserve, the longest such streak in Thunder history (previously Harden, Martin with seven) and the longest in the league this season.

Comeback Kids: On 12/16 vs. Chicago, Oklahoma City overcame a 26-point deficit in the second quarter to earn a 109-106 win over the Bulls after outscoring them 60-38 in the second half. This marks the largest home comeback victory in Thunder history and ties the OKC record (2/9/19 at Houston). OKC then followed that performance with a 24-point comeback win over the Grizzlies the next game, making the Thunder the only team in the last 20 years to overcome back-to-back 24-point deficits. Two games later, the Thunder earned an 18-point comeback win over the Clippers, the first time the Thunder has ever had as many such wins within a week span. Additionally, OKC is tied with the Lakers for the most 15-point comeback wins so far this season with four.

Bench Mob: The Oklahoma City reserves have outscored opposing benches in 24 of the Thunder’s 31 games, with OKC earning an 1410 record when that happens. The Thunder bench has the fourth-best bench scoring margin in the NBA (7.8), holding opponent reserves to the lowest scoring average (31.3) while ranking second in blocks (78). Also, Nerlens Noel ranks fourth among all NBA reserves in blocks per game (1.26) while Dennis Schröder ranks second in points scored (569) and fifth in assists (115) (min. 20 games). In OKC’s win over the Pelicans on Nov. 29, Schröder (25) and Abdel Nader (19) combined for 44 points as reserves. The previous game, that same duo combined for 33 points in relief, helping Oklahoma City’s bench to a 59.5-points per game average over those two contests.

Getting Defensive: Oklahoma City has earned the second-best fourth quarter defensive rating (98.3) as well as the second-best +/- rating in OT (+22). OKC is holding opponents to the second-fewest made shots from beyond the arc (10.2) on the second-fewest attempts (30.5) and the second-fewest fast break points (11.6) among all NBA teams while giving opponents the third-fewest free throw opportunities (19.0). Additionally, the Thunder is contesting the second-most shots from inside the arc (43.2) and the seventh most overall (64.8).

Need I Shai More: Through the first 10 games this season, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander averaged 21.0 points, the second-highest scoring average through the first 10 games of any Thunder sophomore behind Kevin Durant’s 21.9 in 2008 and ahead of Russell Westbrook’s 15.6 in 2009. Additionally, through 30 games, Gilgeous-Alexander’s 19.1 points per game average ranks second only to Durant’s 23.7 and ahead of Westbrook’s 16.3.

Hot Schröder: Dennis Schröder has now led all Thunder reserves in 26 of 31 games. In the Thunder’s first back-to-back of the season on 10/27-28, he logged 22 points, eight rebounds, six assists and four steals on the first night and 22 points, five rebounds and seven assists the second. Schröder is the first Thunder reserve to notch 20+ points and 5+ rebounds in two straight games. On 11/2 vs. New Orleans, Schröder marked his fourth straight game with 17+ points, only two Thunder reserves have had a longer such streak (Harden, 5; Kanter, 5).

Stealing Olajuwon’s Thunder: On 12/14 at Denver, Chris Paul stole his 2,163rd ball to pass Hakeem Olajuwon for eighth all-time in steals on the NBA leaderboards. Paul already ranked first among all active players. Each player that sits ahead of him on that all-time list is a member of the Hall of Fame (Stockton, Kidd, Jordan, Payton, Cheeks, Pippen, Drexler).

Paul in a Day’s Work: A nine-time All-Star and two-time gold medalist, Chris Paul is ranked seventh in NBA history in assists (9,381) and eighth in steals (2,173) and is first among active players in both. He joins Jason Kidd and John Stockton as the only players with 9,000+ assists and 2,000+ steals. Additionally, in the win over the Bulls on 12/16, Paul scored his 18,000th career point, making him one of three players in NBA history with 18,000+ points and 9,000+ rebounds, joining John Stockton and Isiah Thomas.
On the Record: In the 139-127 overtime victory over the Timberwolves on 12/6, the Thunder had five players with at least 20 points (Paul 30, Gilgeous-Alexander 29, Schröder 25, Adams 22, Gallinari 21). This marks the first time in Oklahoma City history and the first time in the league since March 2004 that a team has had as many players with 20-plus points each (Atlanta – Stephen Jackson 42, Bob Sura 28, Jason Terry 23, Jason Collier 22, Chris Crawford 20).

Ciao Ciao: Danilo Gallinari currently ranks sixth among all NBA players by shooting 90.3 percent from the free throw line. From 10/2311/5, he went a perfect 24-for-24 from the free throw line before his first miss of the season, which was good for longest such streak in the league. Additionally, Gallinari leads the Thunder in three-point makes with 75, shooting them with 39.5 percent accuracy.
Home Cooking: Since arriving in Oklahoma City, the Thunder has always taken pride in defending its home court. Dating back to the start of the 2009-10 season, OKC has gone 305-114 (.728) at home, which stands as the second-best home record in the NBA during this span. Since the 2010-11 season, Oklahoma City has earned 278 wins on home court, which stands as the second-most home wins in that timeframe (San Antonio).
Keeping it 100: In the Thunder’s win over New Orleans on Nov. 29, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander played his 100th-career game. He is one of 14 players with 100+ steals, 50+ blocks and 75+ three-pointers in their first 100 games since threes became an official stat in 1982.
Mind the Gap: On 10/28 at Houston, the Thunder bench outscored the Rockets reserves 52-14. This 38-point margin is the largest for Oklahoma City since 4/12/17 vs. Denver and ranks as the fourth largest such margin in Thunder history. The night before on 10/27 vs. Golden State, the Thunder downed the Warriors 120-92, tying OKC’s largest margin of victory over Golden State. The 33-point halftime edge was the Warriors’ worst deficit at the break since 1997.
Hamidoing it Right: After finishing his rookie campaign with 21 steals, Hamidou Diallo snagged 15 through the first 10 games of the 2019-20 season. This makes him the first Thunder sophomore to grab as many in the first 10 games of the season. Second is Jeff Green in 2008 (14).
Billy the Kid: With Oklahoma City’s 120-92 victory over Golden State, Billy Donovan earned his 200th win as an NBA head coach with a 60.4 percent win percentage. The only other active head coaches to have at least 200 wins and a 60 percent win percentage or better with their respective teams are Steve Kerr (322 wins, 78.5 percent), Gregg Popovich (1,245 wins, 68.4 percent) and Doc Rivers (307 wins, 62.4 percent).
Eight Ball: In the 11/9 victory over the Warriors, Danilo Gallinari led the team with 21 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the field and 4of-6 shooting from beyond the arc. In the process, he scored his 8,888th career point. Born on 8/8/88, Gallinari has worn the number eight since he entered the league in 2008.
You can Shai that Again: In his Thunder debut at Utah on 10/23, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander posted a team-leading and then-career-best 26 points, the second-most ever scored in a Thunder debut (Paul George, 28). He is also just the third Thunder player to lead the team in scoring in his team debut (Paul George, Russell Westbrook). He then followed that performance by setting yet another career mark with 28 points against the Wizards on Oct. 25.

Canadian captain apologizes after leaving helmet on during Russian anthem — Toronto Sun

OSTRAVA, Czech Republic — A contrite Barrett Hayton said he was “lost in the moment” when he failed to follow international hockey protocol and left his helmet on during the Russian national anthem at the World Junior Championship. Read More

Canadian captain apologizes after leaving helmet on during Russian anthem — Toronto Sun

Trouble in the Lakers locker room heading into game vs. Blazers? — High Velocity Sport

Trouble in the Lakers locker room heading into game vs. Blazers? The Lakers are facing a possible locker room distraction heading into Saturday’s game vs. the Portland Trail Blazers. After the Lakers Christmas Day clash with the Clippers, a game which the Clippers won 111-106, Lakers guard Kyle Kuzma‘s trainer Clint Parks took to social […]

Trouble in the Lakers locker room heading into game vs. Blazers? — High Velocity Sport

Celtics Notes: Brad Stevens Issues Sobering Assessment Of Boston’s Defense — NESN.com

[nesn_embed service=dailymotion src=”https://www.dailymotion.com/embed/video/x7pqgxv” width=”480″ height=”270″] Winning cures all, right? Well, the Boston Celtics have won plenty this season, but the eight losses they’ve suffered have allowed for some actual perspective-taking on the flaws that this team has. In Saturday’s 113-97 loss to the Toronto Raptors, it was defense. [nesn_embed_the_score team=”celtics”] Kyle Lowry, Patrick McCaw and […]

Celtics Notes: Brad Stevens Issues Sobering Assessment Of Boston’s Defense — NESN.com

Hornets G Rozier fined $25K after premature celebration — National Post

Charlotte Hornets guard Terry Rozier was fined $25,000 by the NBA for throwing a ball into the stands, the league announced on Saturday. The punishment added to the in-game admonishment for Rozier’s premature celebration of a game-tying layup by teammate Devonte’ Graham in the final seconds of Charlotte’s game against Oklahoma City on Friday. Rozier […]

Hornets G Rozier fined $25K after premature celebration — National Post

LAVAL 6, MARLIES 1: “We really let down our goaltenders today. We know they like to shoot heavy from the point. We weren’t strong enough out front. We didn’t protect our goaltenders, our most important guys on the ice. Didn’t get underneath hands, they got some tips, rebounds inside of us, they were behind our D. Forwards need to do a better of job of getting tight, staying in lanes, wanting to block shots.” –GREG MOORE.

TORONTO MARLIES (19-9-2-1 – 41 Points) vs. LAVAL ROCKET (16-14-3-1 – 36 Points)

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2019

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TORONTO1001
LAVAL2316

GAME SUMMARY    |    GAME SHEET |    PHOTOS    |      SCRUMS

SCORING SUMMARY

Toronto: T. Kivihalme (3) PP (J. Bracco, N. Petan)
Goaltender: J. Woll (18/23), K. Kaskisuo (14/15)

Laval: Y. Veilleux (3) (K. Alzner, M. McCarron), C. Hudson (13) (G. Olofsson, J. Evans), X. Ouellet (5) (Y. Veilleux), C. Hudon (14) (J. Evans), R. Cuddemi (1) (K. Alzner, A. Alain), J. Evans (6) (R. Cuddemi, O. Leskinen)
Goaltender: C. Primeau (26/27)

ON THE SCORESHEET

  • Teemu Kivihalme scored on the power play at 17:21 of the first period. Kivihalme has seven points (3 goals, 4 assists) in 28 games this season.
  • Jeremy Bracco registered the primary assist on Kivihalme’s first period power play goal. Bracco is fourth in assists (23) overall. Bracco has five assists in his last four games.
  • Nic Petan recorded the secondary assist on Kivihalme’s first period goal. Petan has 14 points (3 goals, 11 assists) in nine games – seven points (2 goals, 5 assists) have been on the power play.
  • Joseph Woll stopped 18 of 23 shots he faced. Woll is now 6-6-1-1 on the season with a 0.892 Save Percentage and a 3.33 Goals Against Average. Kasimir Kaskisuo replaced Woll midway through the second period, stopping 14 of 15 shots he faced. He now has a 0.916 Save Percentage and a 2.41 Goals Against Average.

OF NOTE…

  • Toronto was 1-for-1 on the penalty kill and was 1-for-6 on the power play. Toronto has scored nine power play goals in their last seven games.
  • Laval had a 38-27 edge in shots in all situations. Pontus Aberg led the Marlies with four shots on goal.
  • The Marlies are 9-5-2-1 against North Division opponents and are 2-1-0-1 against the Laval Rocket.

REGULAR SEASON LEADERS

  • Goals: P. Aberg (12)
  • Assists: J. Bracco (23)
  • Points: P. Aberg (27)
  • PPG: P. Aberg,E. Korshkov (4)
  • Shots: P. Aberg (81)
  • +/-:  G. Wilson (+11)
  • PIMS: G. Wilson (58)

RECORD WHEN…

  • The Marlies are 7-4-1-0 when trailing after the first period and 3-7-2-0 when trailing after the second period.
  • Toronto is 12-5-1-1 when outshot by their opponent.
  • The Marlies are 8-3-1-1 in Saturday games and are 5-6-0-0 in December.

CURRENT POINT STREAKS

  • Jeremy Bracco has assists (5) in four consecutive games.

MARLIES UPDATES.

  • Kevin Gravel (illness) did not dress for today’s game against Laval.
  • Kristians Rubins (concussion) did not dress for today’s game against Laval. He left Toronto’s game against Belleville on December 21 in the first period and did not return.

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

  • December 28: Recalled forward Kenny Agostino from loan by Toronto (NHL).
  • December 28: Recalled defenceman Timothy Liljegren from loan by Toronto (NHL).
  • December 28: Recalled Michael Kapla from loan to Newfoundland (ECHL).
  • December 27: Recalled forward Adam Brooks from loan by Toronto (NHL).
  • December 27: Recalled defenceman Martin Marincin from loan by Toronto (NHL).
  • December 27: Reassigned defenceman Mac Hollowell by Toronto (NHL) from Newfoundland (ECHL).

   POSTGAME QUOTES

HEAD COACH GREG MOORE

On today’s game:
I thought we really let down our goaltenders today. We know they like to shoot heavy from the point. We weren’t strong enough out front. We didn’t protect our goaltenders, our most important guys on the ice. Didn’t get underneath hands, they got some tips, rebounds inside of us, they were behind our D. Forwards need to do a better of job of getting tight, staying in lanes, wanting to block shots. They’re a hard, heavy team. I didn’t think our start was as good as it needed to be. Our first periods have been problematic from what I’ve seen since I got here so we just have to have some discussion, make sure we correct some things and move from there.

On the power play:
It was a little slow and deliberate. They’re taking their time, they’re making the PK feel comfortable and easy. It’s got to be full throttle, shot, puck recovery, 1-2 pass, shot, puck recovery. We don’t make the penalty kill feel uncomfortable. We need to play a little bit faster and we’ll work on it, we’ll get things going.

NEXT GAME:

December 31 vs Charlotte – 3:00 p.m. ET
January 3 at Syracuse – 7:00 p.m. ET
January 4 vs Rochester – 4:00 p.m. ET
January 5 vs Lehigh Valley – 4:00 p.m. ET
January 10 at Texas – 7:00 p.m. ET