The Oklahoma City Thunder never led over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday night. Oklahoma City trailing by as many as 14 points as the Thunder lose to the T-Wolves 99-93. Russell Westbrook led Oklahoma City with 30 points, 11 rebounds, 9 assists and 8 turnovers. Kevin Durant tried to carry this team on a poor shooting night, but his 33 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assits wasn’t enough. The loss ended the Thunder’s 12 game win streak. It was also Oklahoma City’s first lost in 28 days.
Oklahoma City scored just 18 first quarter points, and Durant score nine of them. It was a three-point party for the Timberwolves early too. Minnesota forced five Thunder turnovers in the first quarter. Oklahoma City struggled from the floor, shooting just 36.8 percent in the quarter. Durant shot 4-for-6 in the quarter, and the rest of the team was just 3-for-13. Oklahoma City trailed by as much as 14 points at 25-11 with 3:14 left in the first quarter.
The lead grew back to 14 points twice in the second quarter for Minnesota. It seemed like every time Oklahoma City found a way to get a stop, they were not able to convert. The Timberwolves kept the Thunder at arm’s length for the entire quarter. Oklahoma City found a way to cut the lead to seven points at 42-35 3:14 left until halftime. Minnesota went back to feeding Nikola Pekovic. Kendrick Perkins couldn’t guard him at all. Minnesota pushed their lead to 12 points at 53-41 with just seconds to go, but Serge Ibaka drained a corner three with 0.09 seconds left to cut the deficit to just nine points at 53-44.
The second half started out just like the first half did for Oklahoma City, by missing shots and Minnesota making them. Oklahoma City though, found themselves in a contest midway through the quarter though. Oklahoma City cut the Minnesota lead down to 59-54 with 7:46 left in the quarter after back-to-back Thunder three-pointers from Durant and Westbrook. However, Minnesota answered another Thunder run with one of their own. Minnesota a quick 9-2 run pushed the lead back out.
Oklahoma City had another run for the third quarter. Oklahoma City cut the deficit to just five points with 1:27 left in the quarter on a Thabo Sefolosha’s basket. Oklahoma City then missed two of their next three shots as Minnesota found themselves leading 76-69 going into the fourth quarter.
Oklahoma City felt they had one last run in them. Oklahoma City cut the Timberwolves lead to 76-75 with 10:03 left in the quarter. Every time Oklahoma City tried to make a run, the Timberwolves pushed it out. In the fourth quarter, it was JJ Barea who has always been a thorn in the Thunder’s side. Barea had 18 points, 14 in the fourth quarter. Berea had two huge plays that just really buried Oklahoma City.
With 5:25 left in the game, and just seconds ticking off the shot clock, Ibaka blocked a shot. Berea picked it up from 28 feet, and trained a three in front of Reggie Jackson. Then with 2:24, Oklahoma City trailed 96-87. Berea got in front of Durant and Kd was called for the charge. Durant so irate from the call, picked up a technical foul in the process. Both of these plays just really killed the Thunder momentum.
Keys to the Game
Free Throws: A
Oklahoma City got to the line a lot, 22-for-26, but it really wasn’t much of a difference in the game.
The Thunder turned the ball over 16 times, accounting for 14 T-Wolves points. It just seemed a lot of the Thunder turnovers tonight were just because they over reacted. Westbrook was sloppy with the ball tonight. He had 8 turnovers. Some of them were due to being aggressive, then some were just stupid. See the pass way above Thabo’s head in the third quarter.
48 minutes of Defense: F
Poor defense for 99% of the game. There was a stretch between the third and fourth quarters that Oklahoma City played okay. However, that’s it. No one could stop anyone, and it was very stressful for me. I cannot imagine how the actual players feel. You cannot play like this and expect to beat teams. That said, it’s just one game, can’t win them all.