Raps thunderstruck

MIKE GANTER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:50 AM ET

OKLAHOMA CITY -- If this isn't rock bottom, it's going to take a visit to the D-League to beat it.

It was so bad last night that the only one or two quarters of good basketball the Raptors had played in their past three losses would not only have been welcome last night, but might have won the game.

Instead they took the kind of holiday-season gift a visit to Oklahoma City at this stage in the Thunder's development should be and turned it into the veritable coal-in-the-stocking gift usually reserved for only the baddest little kids.

And last night the Raptors were that bad, becoming just the third team to lose to the not-so-mighty Thunder in the 27 games their hosts have played.

The final score of 91-83 actually flattered the Raps given the Thunder made just 16-of-27 from the free-throw line.

The Raptors did come out with a better fourth quarter than the previous three, but that turned out to be too little, too late. The Raps actually tied the game with 4:38 to play on a Bosh layup but hustle plays like Nick Collison diving to the floor to outwrestle Bosh for a key rebound in the dying minutes, turned this game in the Thunder's favour.

Toronto's last lead in the game came two minutes in when they were up 5-4.

Kevin Durant led all scorers with 24 points as the Thunder tasted victory on its home court for just the second time this year.

Potentially more concerning than the loss itself were the signs of discontent emanating from Bosh.

All but invisible in the first half, Bosh made amends in the second and wasn't sparing anyone's feelings along the way.

Bosh, who had just five points and eight rebounds in the first half, finished the night with 22 points and 16 rebounds (including eight offensive boards) was demanding the ball in the second half and when his teammates weren't getting it to him, he voiced his displeasure.

Roko Ukic got an earful from the Raptors' franchise player in the third quarter after Bosh muscled his man out of the way to get position in the post only to see Ukic swing the ball the other way.

Late in the fourth, it was Jamario Moon hearing it from Bosh in a very public tongue-lashing as he let Moon know in no uncertain terms just what he thought of Moon's decision to hoist up an unsuccessful three-point attempt again after he had gained position in the post with the Raps down by just one.

As talkative as he was in the second half, Bosh had nothing to say after the game in what was a first in his career. With the media surrounding his locker, Bosh packed up his personal gear and then waded through the microphones and cameras without uttering a word.

Raptors head coach Jay Triano summed it up succinctly.

"They were better than us," Triano said. "They made shots and we didn't and for the most part of the game they had the effort plays as well. They seemed quicker to the ball than we were."

The best line of the night, though, belonged to Jermaine O'Neal, who left the game with three minutes to go in the first half. Asked afterwards about the sore shoulder that ended his night, O'Neal first confirmed he would be back in the lineup tonight in San Antonio before adding: "But I think we have bigger problems than that right now."

The Raps shot a woeful 36.4% from the floor and made just two of their 17 three-point attempts.

The 36 points at the half was one more than the Raps' season low, which came in a loss in Denver that ultimately cost Sam Mitchell his job.

Triano spent the better part of the practice Thursday and the morning shootaround yesterday hammering home the point that the Raptors had what it took to get out of their funk and had proven it in stretches even over the past three losses. It was just a matter of extending those good periods.

Last night there were fewer good periods, leading to more questions about this basketball club this morning.

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REPLAY

THAT'S JUST BAD

How bad a night was it? The Raptors shot just 28.9% in the first half against a Thunder team that is ranked 29th in the league in opponents' field goal percentage. A good fourth quarter got that number up to 36.4% but that wasn't enough to overcome the Thunder.

O'NEAL OUT AGAIN

Jermaine O'Neal left the game at the 3:22 mark of the second quarter and did not return to the game. If there is good news here it's that it was not the knee but a sore left shoulder that ended his night prematurely.

STREAK ALIVE

The Raptors, who came in with an NBA-record 803 consecutive games with a three-pointer, were 0-for-8 before Jamario Moon's three-pointer hit with 3:12 left in the third quarter.


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