What is your initial reaction to tonight's result?
Tons of excitement touched with just a tinge of malaise. The Thunder won the game, and they hit some amazing shots in order to do so. Excitement filled the air, and Kevin Love was on fire. But there was absolutely no reason the Thunder should have gone to double-overtime in order to win tonight.
Now, I know all of you are expecting me to point to Derek Fisher as the reason for this, especially considering my scathing column of him. And I will. If he wasn't sitting in the corner bricking threes, the game would have probably been over a whole lot sooner.
But he's not the only reason. Scott Brooks, once again, called atrocious plays out of timeouts. I honestly can't remember a single play that worked in that instance, and I remember lots of long, needless threes. And, his lineups were horrible. Not only did he leave the ice cold Derek Fisher in the game for the duration of crunch time, he refused to go with lineups that worked. He watched as Kevin Love continued to utterly destroy Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins before finally putting in Nick Collison, who had guarded him admirably earlier.
Not to mention the fact that the Thunder had lineups that were working earlier in the game (namely small ones) that Brooks just chose to ignore in the 4th quarter and bth OTs. Instead, he went with his traditional lineup that had played even steven with the Timberwolves all game.
Still....WE WON! So I'm a pretty happy guy, despite all of the above.
What was tonight's turning point?
The tables were turned several times in the waning minutes of this game, but the game was finally put away with under two minutes remaining in 2OT. After J.J. Barea hit a totally open layup to cut the lead to two with 2:24 remaining in 2OT, Fisher missed another three, opening the door for the Wolves. But Love blew the opportunity by getting a layup attempt blocked by Collison. Durant responded with a jumper, and Westbrook responded with a fast-break layup after a missed Ellington shot. At that point, it was all over.
What was, overall, the main reason the Thunder won?
Gas. By the time OT rolled around, the Timberwolves were relying solely on Kevin Love, J.J. Barea, and Anthony Tolliver. The last basket to not be scored by the trio came from Luke Ridnour with 3:39 to go in the third. In 2OT, Kevin Love was running on fumes, while Tolliver was nowhere to be found. The result was Barea running around on his own, and the eventual deferral to Ellington and Ridnour, who didn't have the firepower to cope.
What is a key statistic to understanding tonight's game?
Both teams shot over 49% from the field and over 37% from three, while the Timberwolves managed to attempt 37 free throws. Not much defense went on tonight, I can tell you that much.
What does this game mean for the Thunder today and moving forward?
It gives them a solid win heading into Sunday's nationally televised game against the Heat, and puts them 3/5 games ahead of the Spurs for the West lead. It also puts them one step closer to clinching the Northwest Division, as their Divisional record now sits at 7-2.
Thunder Wonder: Nick Collison, for providing the clutch defense and being the only player to play admirable defense on Love.
Thunder Down Under: Kevin Durant, for his always fantastic clutch shots.
Thunder Blunder: Derek Fisher. Is it even possible to give it to anyone else?
Thunder Plunderer: Kevin Love, who, despite his 50 points, doesn't have a beard that's nearly as cool as James Harden's.
Next Game: Versus the Miami Heat, Sunday, March 25th, 7 PM Central Daylight Time