The Thunder team that took the court this afternoon was a much different team than the one that gone blown off the court by 42 points earlier in the season. They didn't waste any time building a lead, and after one period of play they were up 26-16. Oklahoma City would continue to build on that lead in the 2nd quarter by outscoring Minnesota 31-23 to take a 57-39 lead into halftime. The third quarter was very much the same as the first two with the Thunder thoroughly dominating play building a sizable 31 point lead heading into the 4th quarter. The T-Wolves would spend the 4th quarter playing catch up against a lead that was just too big to overcome even against the Thunder reserves. They did however make it look respectable by outscoring the Thunder 37-13 in the 4th to make the final score Oklahoma City 97, Minnesota 90.
Kevin Durant hit the 30 point barrier for the first time since returning from injury and definitely looks to have that timing stroke back down. He added 8 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1 steal as well, with only 1 turnover. Jeff Green was 2nd on the team in scoring with 17, and everyone else on the team was in singe digits with the exception of DWilk who didn't score in his 2 minutes of play. Rookie Russell Westbrook had an awful shooting day and only scored 7 points, but he did, however, dish out 10 assists and grab 8 boards. Its nice to RW0 is able to have a terrible scoring night, yet still be able to contribute in a big way.
The win brings both teams records to 20-50 on the season, and 2-2 against each other, creating a virtual tie at the bottom of the Northwest divisional standings. After the 3-29 start, getting out of the cellar in the Western conference was a tough challenge, let alone doing the same thing inside our own division. With the way these two teams are playing right now, it almost seems automatic that the Thunder will finish 4th in the division. That's not something I expected to see happen a month or two ago, and is a testament to just how much this team has improved. If the Thunder can have a productive off-season and improve this team even more, Oklahoma City will be knocking at the door the playoffs by playing meaningful games at this time next year.
The Thunder will return home to play the Lakers on Tuesday for a short 1 game home stand before heading out on the road to take on a 3 game road trip. With only 5 games remaining, and the Lakers coming to town on Tuesday, I'm pretty sure you can expect a wild, packed-house, type crowd for each and every game remaining. Good win today, and a chance on Tuesday to 1-up that amazing win against the Spurs last week.
|Final - 3.22.2009||1||2||3||4||Total|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||26||31||27||13||97|