|2012-2013 NBA Season|
The Minnesota Timberwolves (25-45)
|March 29th, 2013|
|The Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota|
|7:00 PM CDT|
|Entertainment Sports Programming Network, Fox Sports Network Oklahoma|
|WWLS the Sports Animal (98.1), WCCO News Radio 830|
|Previous Meetings: Dec 20th, Jan 9th, Feb 22nd (Thunder Lead Season Series 2-1)|
|Injury Report: Kevin Love (Out), Malcolm Lee (Out), Brandon Roy (Out)|
|Russell Westbrook||PG||Ricky Rubio|
|Thabo Sefolosha||SG||Luke Ridnour|
|Kevin Durant||SF||Andrei Kirilenko|
|Serge Ibaka||PF||Derrick Williams|
|Kendrick Perkins||C||Nikola Pekovic|
As the season enters it's final days and the Thunder continue to chase San Antonio for the first playoff spot in the West, every game becomes absolutely crucial. With San Antonio playing and potentially losing to the LA Clippers tonight, the Thunder stand a good chance of narrowing the gap between the teams to half a game.
Against Minnesota, the Thunder could be in quite a pickle. I know, the Thunder have basically blown out the Timberwolves in the last two times they've faced them. But if you'll think back to December, you'll remember that they have beaten the Thunder this season, and they could very well do it again. The thing is, the Timberwolves are pretty good at scoring 2s and getting to the line, but their three point shooting is usually so atrocious that they can't stay in games. But, against the Thunder's generally saggy defense, the Timberwolves should be able to get a few open looks and have a better offensive night than normal.
Of course, the Thunder overcame that hindrance in their other two matchups. Back in early January, they focused on the perimeter. This led to Nikola Pekovic and Derrick Williams having huge nights, but the guards were unable to keep up and the team lost by a great deal. Later, in February, the Thunder eschewed that strategy altogether and simply outscored the T-Wolves with superior firepower and pacing.
Tonight, the Thunder should be able to take care of business. J.J. Barea's speed is of a concern, as is the more relaxed perimeter defense the team has played lately. But as long as the Thunder can control the pace and stay competitive in the rebounding game, they should be able to win. The Timberwolves are an interesting team, but they just don't have enough diverse offensive firepower to compete on most night.
Prediction: Oklahoma City Thunder 109, Minnesota Timberwolves 98.
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