2012-2013 Game 55 Preview: Thunder Try to Rebound Vs. Timberwolves

Why don't you purify yourselves in the waters of Lake Minnetonka. - W. Bennett Berry

Here comes another winnable game for the Thunder. Is it another chance to be disappointed, or a time where the Thunder will finally get back on track?

2012-2013 NBA Season
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The Minnesota Timberwolves (20-31)
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The Oklahoma City Thunder (39-15)
February 22nd, 2013
Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
7:00 PM CST
Entertainment Sports Programming Network, Fox Sports Network Oklahoma
WWLS the Sports Animal (98.1), WCCO News Radio 830
Enemy Blogs: Canis Hoopus, T-Wolves Blog, Timberpups, A Wolf Among Wolves, Howlin' T-Wolf
Previous Meetings: Dec 20th, Jan 9th (Season Series Tied 1-1)
Injury Report: Kendrick Perkins (Probable), Kevin Love (Out), Malcolm Lee (Out), Chase Budinger (Out), Brandon Roy (Out)
Probable Starters
Ricky Rubio PG Russell Westbrook
Luke Ridnour SG Thabo Sefolosha
Andrei Kirilenko SF Kevin Durant
Derrick Williams PF Serge Ibaka
Nikola Pekovic C Kendrick Perkins

Here comes another winnable game for the Thunder. Is it another chance to be disappointed, or a time where the Thunder will finally get back on track?

That's the big question. The Thunder actually lost to the Timberwolves this December. They were mainly concerned about protecting the paint in that game, because the Timberwolves really struggle from three and the shot is generally their downfall. But in that game, the Thunder gave them so many open shots that they actually started to prosper. The Thunder were also missing Kevin Martin on that night, so the offense really struggled as well.

In January, the Thunder redeemed themselves by soundly trouncing the Timberwolves. That time, Minnesota was missing Kevin Love and J.J. Barea, so the win wasn't all the hard to come by.

Fortunately for the Thunder, Kevin Love will still be out tonight. He provided a good offensive push and rebounding help in the December win against the Thunder, so the Timberwolves are definitely really beatable without him. Furthermore, the Timberwolves haven't beaten an over .500 opponent in over a month. Even better, the Thunder are playing at home and on a day's rest.

In order to win, the Thunder's bench really needs to take advantage of the Timberwolves' bench. They have some players who are prone to shooting really low percentages and burying their team in a hole, and they generally have to go small unless they want to play Chris Johnson.

In general, the Thunder will also want to find ways to give guys not named Westbrook or Durant opportunities to score, particularly in the fourth. I have no problem with those guys leading the offense, but they need to run things other than isolation plays, and they need to be aware of guys around them. Moreover, controlling the paint will be essential, because Pekovic is a primary offensive option for the Timberwolves, and he's exactly the type of guy that Kendrick Perkins should be able to stop.

All in all, it's a must win.

Corey Brewer's status is unknown for tonight, but he's definitely in Oklahoma City tonight, because players have 24 hours to report to their new team after being traded.

Prediction: Oklahoma City Thunder 99, Minnesota Timberwolves 93.

If you are looking for tickets to upcoming games, you can find Oklahoma City Thunder tickets here.

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