Raptors try to end road woes
By Sports Network
|Raptors' Jose Calderon prepares to pass the ball during a game against the Washington Wizards, March 18, 2011. (Mark O'Neill/QMI Agency)
The Toronto Raptors look to end a lengthy 14-game road losing streak when they begin a five-game western trek tonight against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Toronto's 14-game road skid matches a streak that lasted from March 22, 2006 and ended November 24 of the following campaign. It is only 5-27 away from Canada this season and will also visit the Nuggets, Suns, Warriors and Clippers. Toronto's last win as the visitor was on Jan. 5 at Cleveland.
The Raptors won for only the second time in seven tries with Friday's 116-107 home win over the Washington Wizards thanks to a game-best 33 points from Andrea Bargnani.
"It was a very important win," Bargnani said. "Today we shared the ball and it was helpful for me to get to the line."
DeMar DeRozan had 30 points and Jose Calderon scored 17 for Toronto, which got 15 points from Leandro Barbosa and a game-high 15 boards out of Reggie Evans.
Oklahoma City will try to extend its season best winning streak to seven games when it resumes a six-game homestand tonight.
The Thunder made it six wins in a row with a 99-82 triumph versus Charlotte in the opener of the residency, as Kevin Durant scored 25 points before leaving the game late in the fourth quarter with a bruised left shoulder. Durant is listed as probable for tonight's game.
James Harden added 21 points off the bench and Russell Westbrook ended with 18 points and seven assists for the Thunder, who have won nine of 10 overall and improved to 24-9 at home this season.
"Our offense was out of sync for some reason tonight but our defense was solid and we really picked it up on defense in the fourth quarter," said Thunder head coach Scott Brooks.
Oklahoma City has won four in a row as the host and will also entertain the Jazz, Timberwolves, Blazers and Warriors. It is currently fourth in the Western Conference standings.
Toronto beat the Thunder, 111-99, back on Dec. 3 this season at Air Canada Centre, but has lost three of the past five meetings between the teams.