Luguentz Dort once again stole the show for Thunder fans as Oklahoma City lost their 10th straight contest, falling 112-106 to the Toronto Raptors in Tampa Bay, FL, Sunday night.
OKC rookie Aleksej Pokusevski also returned to the starting lineup after suffering from shoulder soreness which saw him miss a few games, but ultimately the Thunder’s efforts fell short.
Awaiting the debut of Euroleague signing Gabriel Deck, the Thunder now just lack the services of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander down the final stretch of the regular season, who is reportedly behind schedule in his recovery from plantar fasciitis.
Game Ball: Lu Dort
Since returning to action after clearing concussion protocol, Dort has been nothing short of sensational. The second year guard is averaging 28 points per game in his four games since his return, shooting an eye-popping 51 percent from the floor.
Sunday night, just like he did against Utah, Dort stormed out of the gates, scoring 21 of his 29 points in the first quarter. The growth of Dort into an all-around player as opposed to just a defensive stopper is exactly why Mark Daigneault was appointed to lead the Thunder project as he has garnered the reputation inside the franchise as an excellent player developer.
When Gilgeous-Alexander returns, Dort’s number of shots should take a dip, but if he can continue to make plays at a high level and score as efficiently as he has since returning from his concussion, the OKC offense will be dynamic and give the Thunder a real chance to win games.
Game Ball: Isaiah Roby
Isaiah Roby provided a nice spark for OKC off the bench, scoring 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting in 21 minutes of action. Roby knocked down his only 3-point attempt, continuing to be an asset with the ability to stretch the floor for the Thunder’s second unit.
The former Nebraska Cornhusker neared double-double territory as he pulled down eight rebounds, also adding a steal and a block on the defensive end.
As with any young player, Roby has struggled with consistency all season. But when he is locked in, Roby is an athletic threat off the bench who can provide a shot in the arm for the Oklahoma City second unit.
The Thunder won’t have to wait long to once again try and snap their losing streak. Oklahoma City is back in action Monday night against the Russell Westbrook led Washington Wizards. Tip-off from the nation’s capitol is slated for 7 p.m.