Anderson scores career-high 27 points, but Raptors lose to Thunder
Toronto Raptors guard Jose Calderon (right) and Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook battle for a loose ball during first half NBA action in Toronto on Sunday, January 6, 2013. (Frank Gunn / The Canadian Press)
Published Sunday, January 6, 2013 3:46PM EST
Last Updated Sunday, January 6, 2013 3:48PM EST
TORONTO -- Russell Westbrook scored 23 points and Kevin Durant added 22 of his own to lift the Oklahoma City Thunder over Toronto 104-96 on Sunday, handing the Raptors their second straight loss after they had won eight of nine.
Alan Anderson scored a career-high 27 points -- 19 of them in the second quarter -- to top Toronto (12-22). Amir Johnson finished with 19 points and nine rebounds. Jose Calderon had 10 points to go with 11 assists, while DeMar DeRozan added 11 points.
Serge Ibaka added 19 points for the Thunder (26-7), while Kevin Martin had 16.
The Raptors held their own for the first half thanks to a sizzling second quarter that saw Anderson drain four three-pointers and Kyle Lowry add a pair. Lowry, who finished with 10 points and eight assists, made like he was tucking a three-fingered gun in his holster after one.
But after trailing the Thunder by just two points at halftime, Oklahoma City put 15 points on the home team by late in the third quarter and took a 78-67 lead into the final 12 minutes.
Toronto pulled to within nine early in the fourth but couldn't make up any more ground on one of the league's top teams. A three-pointer by Lowry with three and half minutes to go had the Raptors within 13, but Westbrook drained a three on the Thunder's next possession, Kendrick Perkins scored on an emphatic dunk and it was game over for Toronto in their third of a six-game homestand.
Raptors coach Dwane Casey called the game a chance for his players to test themselves against the best in the league.
"It's the whole team," Casey said. "They've done probably one of the best jobs in the league in building a program and developing players from scratch. They're king of the hill now.
"You can go right down the line, everybody knows their role, they know their position, they know who they are. Westbrook is one of the top point guards in the league, Durant is the top 3-4 in the league."
The Raptors played their 10th straight game without forward Andrea Bargnani, sixth without rookie forward Jonas Valanciunas, and third minus Linas Kleiza -- creating what Casey called "a chemistry lab" of different lineups.
On top of that, Raptors rookie Terrence Ross left the game a minute into the fourth quarter with a sprained left ankle.
Ibaka scored 10 points in the opening quarter, with his dunk giving the Thunder an 11-point lead just seven minutes into the game. The Thunder led 23-18 to end the first.
Toronto went on a 21-8 run early in the second, capped by a three-pointer by Lowry that gave the Raptors a five-point lead. It was short-lived, however, and Oklahoma City had a 52-50 advantage at halftime.
Notes: Raptors forward Aaron Gray (stomach bug) didn't dress. ... Former Raptors guard Muggsy Bogues was at the game. ... The Raptors host Philadelphia on Wednesday, Charlotte on Friday and Milwaukee next Sunday to cap their six-game homestand.