TORONTO – Pascal Siakam’s double-double powered the Raptors past the Oklahoma City Thunder 128-111 on Thursday as Toronto earned back-to-back wins.
Siakam led the Raptors (34-36) with 25 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists as six Toronto players reached double digits in scoring.
Jakob Poeltl also had a double-double with 16 points and 12 boards to help the Raptors outrebound the Thunder 58-39.
Fred VanVleet scored 19 points and dished out five assists while O.G. Anunoby had 17 points
Hamilton’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 29 points as Oklahoma City (34-36) had its three-game win streak snapped.
Guard Jalen Williams added 15 points while Montreal’s Luguentz Dort scored 10 points with eight rebounds.
It was the second straight game that a Canadian star visited Toronto after Jamal Murray of Kitchener, Ont., and his Denver Nuggets lost to the Raptors 125-110 on Tuesday.
Toronto head coach Nick Nurse, who also coaches Canada’s men’s senior basketball team, said it’s good for the growth of the sport in this country to have so many homegrown players coming through the city to play the Raptors.
“I just really think it has to motivate the younger kids a lot,” said Nurse. “Gives them somebody to look up to. Those kids are out there wearing those guys’ jerseys.”
VanVleet made a driving layup with 31.1 seconds left in the first quarter to give Toronto a 29-28 lead. The Raptors struggled mightily with their free-throw shooting in the frame, going 6-for-12, an average only slightly better than their 47.6 per cent field-goal shooting.
Poeltl brought the crowd of 19,800 at Scotiabank Arena to their feet with a one-handed jam with 3:19 left in the half. Anunoby followed that up with a steal on the next Thunder possession, passing to Poeltl for a layup as Toronto built a 64-59 lead by the intermission
Back-to-back three-pointers by Tre Mann and Isaiah Joe brought the Thunder to within four, but the Raptors answered back with a 13-foot jump shot from Gary Trent Jr. and a Chris Boucher dunk to maintain their lead. Heading into the fourth Toronto led 93-87.
Oklahoma City couldn’t muster much of a comeback in the final quarter, with Siakam continuing to dominate. He had five of his points in the quarter and Poeltl added eight.
KOLOKO INJURED — Toronto rookie centre Christian Koloko was hit in the nose in the fourth quarter and left the game. He was listed as questionable by the Raptors following the injury.
SHALLOW BENCH — Nurse said before the game that because the Raptors bench has been struggling he would ideally like to pair them with two or three starters at all times, to keep opponents within range when resting Toronto’s better players.
“There are always things that change your ideal thoughts, I think,” said Nurse. “We’ve just got to keep coming up with solutions for them.”
UP NEXT — Toronto hosts the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday at 7 p.m. ET.
Oklahoma City returns home on Sunday to host the Phoenix Suns.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Mach 16, 2023.
© 2023 The Canadian Press
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by PostX News and is published from a syndicated feed.)