The Oklahoma City Thunder faced the Minnesota Timberwolves tonight, hoping to rebound from a disappointing loss against the Washington Wizards. That they did. Oklahoma City used a second have surge to over come the Timberwolves 106-84. The victory pushed the Thunder record to 27-8 on the season and 18-3 at home.
The Thunder got off to a rocky start, shooting 28.6 percent in the first quarter. However, Minnesota wasn’t much better at 33.3 percent. The two teams were tied at 16 after the quarter.
The Thunder also struggled with turnovers in the first, committing five as a team.
The Thunder had a lot better luck offensively in the second quarter, with Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant leading the way. The team gave up a 12-point lead, but thanks to a Westbrook fueled 5-0 run lead 47-42 at half.
Westbrook’s shot wasn’t falling in the first quarter, but he was money in the second. He ended the half with 15 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Durant had 15 points as well.
The third quarter featured more scoring from Westbrook and Durant. The Thunder dominated the quarter, and the score was 76-64 after three.
The Thunder really started to run away with the game in the fourth quarter. About halfway through the final frame the Thunder was up by 24 points. They would go on to win 106-84.
The Thunder offense didn’t miss a beat after that awful first quarter. After just 16 points in that quarter, they were able to put up 90 combined points in the final three.
The team was able to limit turnovers (only seven after the first quarter), move the ball well and hit open shots in the final three quarters. The three pointers were falling too, and as a team the Thunder shot 11-20 from beyond the arc.
The Thunder defense was pretty good most of the game, and they were able to rack up quite a few blocks, steals and turnovers. They were also forcing Minnesota into quite a few tough shots.
Westbrook and Durant basically dominated this game. They combined for 49 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists and helped the Thunder build and keep their huge lead.
Kevin Martin shot poorly overall, but was 4-7 from three and finished with 19 points.
DeAndre Liggins got some minutes for the second straight game, and played well while he was on the floor. He was playing solid defense, crashing the offensive boards and even had a pretty assist on a Kevin Martin three pointer.
Kendrick Perkins was in foul trouble all night tonight, and a lot of them were unnecessary fouls. He’s got to play smarter against Minnesota, because the Thunder needs his strength and physicality to combat Nikola Pekovic.
Thabo Sefolosha had a solid game offensively tonight. He was knocking down threes and even had some pretty drives to the basket. He finished with 10 points on 4-6 shooting.
This was a good rebound victory for the Thunder. It gives them some momentum going into a road game in Los Angeles on Friday against a depleted Laker squad. That game will be the first out of a 10 game stretch that features nine road games for OKC.
Keys to the Game
Fast Start: F
The Thunder basically did the exact opposite of start fast. They started horribly, only scoring 16 points in the first quarter and shooting under 30 percent. Luckily for them, the Timberwolves started just as bad.
Kevin Martin: B
Kevin Martin’s field goal percentage wasn’t very good, but he was hitting his three pointers and free throws. He dropped in 19 points overall. He attacked the basket quite a bit tonight as well, and although he didn’t have much luck in doing so, it was nice to see him be aggressive.
48 Minutes of Defense: B
The Thunder was able to control the Timberwolves offense for most of the game. There were some times where Minnesota was getting easy baskets, but for the most part they made the Timberwolves work for their points. In the end the Thunder held the Wolves to just 84 points.