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Thunder pick up road cover over Raptors

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TORONTO (AP) - To Kevin Durant, an early afternoon start in Toronto against an improving Raptors team was a trap waiting to be sprung on Oklahoma City.

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But with a balanced offensive attack, and a defensive correction in the second half, the Thunder steered clear of getting caught.

Russell Westbrook scored 23 points, Durant had 22 and Oklahoma City beat the Raptors 104-92 on Sunday, giving the Thunder a winning start to a stretch that sees them play 11 of 13 on the road.

``This is one of those trap games when you play at 1:00 p.m. in Toronto,'' Durant said. ``It's a tough place to play. A few teams came in here and lost around this time. We knew we had to be focused and have a lot of energy from the beginning.''

Serge Ibaka had 19 points and eight rebounds and Kevin Martin scored 16 for Oklahoma City, who came in having played an NBA-low 12 road games this season but improved to 9-4 as visitors.

``We just want to keep on playing like we're at home and keep on racking up the wins,'' Martin said.

Nick Collison had 10 points and eight rebounds to help the Thunder win for the fifth time in eight games since their season-long 12-game winning streak.

Oklahoma City is 14-0 this season when at least five players score in double figures.

``Everybody participated, everybody chipped in and everybody did their job,'' Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. ``We're good when we force the defense to chase the ball around and the ball finds a good shot. It's not really who finds it, just as long as it's a good shot.''

Westbrook and Durant each had seven assists. For Durant, that was his most since dishing out a career-high 10 against Golden State on Nov. 18.

``Kevin is the best scorer in the game,'' Westbrook said. ``He can score whenever he pleases but he does a great job of keeping his teammates involved.''

Alan Anderson scored 19 of his career-high 27 points in the second quarter and Amir Johnson had 19 for the Raptors, who lost their second straight after winning eight of nine.

``I praised our guys, the way we fought and scrapped,'' Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. ``But at the end of day reality set in.''

DeMar DeRozan scored 11 points but made just four of 16 field goal attempts. DeRozan made only 3 of 11 attempts in Friday's loss to Sacramento.

``We wanted to make sure we didn't give him any easy shots,'' Brooks said. ``He's an athletic guy that can get to the rim and his mid-range game is good.''

Kyle Lowry scored 10 for the Raptors, who had won four of their previous five home meetings with Oklahoma City. Jose Calderon had 10 points and 11 assists as Toronto dropped to 6-14 against Western Conference opponents.

Toronto guard Terrence Ross left one minute into the fourth quarter with a sprained left ankle and did not return. Casey said Ross' injury is not considered serious but declined to say whether the rookie would be available for Wednesday's game against Philadelphia.

Ibaka scored 10 points as the Thunder built a 23-12 lead with 3:10 left in the first, but Toronto closed the quarter with six straight points to make it 23-18 after one.

Anderson connected on his first six field goal attempts of the second quarter, including four 3-pointers, as the Raptors took a 39-37 lead with 5:40 left. Toronto kept it close the rest of the way, but a 3 by Thabo Sefolosha with 36 seconds left gave Oklahoma City a 52-50 edge at the half.

``That second quarter we were just exchanging baskets and when you do that, teams can get comfortable and teams can get hot,'' Brooks said.

Anderson and the Raptors cooled off in the third, making just five of 16 field goal attempts. Westbrook scored 12 points for the Thunder in the third as Oklahoma City pulled away again, taking a 78-67 lead into the fourth.

``In the second half we really locked in defensively,'' Brooks said. ``Our length and athleticism causes a lot of problems.''

NOTES: Toronto fell to 0-16 when allowing 100 points or more. ... This was the Thunder's first game north of the border since December, 2010. They did not visit the Raptors during the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season. ... Toronto C Aaron Gray (flulike symptoms) did not dress, with Johnson taking his place in the starting lineup. ... Raptors F Linas Kleiza (right knee) missed his fourth straight game. ... Former Buffalo Bills running back Thurman Thomas and former Raptors guard Muggsy Bogues attended the game.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

  
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