Kevin Durant went for 26 and Russell Westbrook added 23 as the Oklahoma City Thunder defeat the short handed Minnesota Timberwolves, 106-84.
After a low scoring first, the Thunder opened it up briefly in the second quarter going up by 12. Minnesota then went on a 13-2 run, and OKC went into halftime with only a 47-42 lead.
The second half was a different story, as the Thunder locked down on both sides of the court, running away from the T-Wolves, improving their record to 27-8.
Nikola Pekovic had 17 and Alexey Shved added 18 for the Minnesota tonight. The Timberwolves were without Kevin Love and J.J. Berea, both of have previously cause a lot of problems for the Thunder.
What is your initial reaction to tonight's result?
This is exactly the kind of game you want to see after a disappointing loss to the Wizards on Monday. The Thunder dominated from start to finish, and outside of a short run in the second quarter led for nearly the entire game. In the second half the Thunder were relentless on both sides of the bucket. We've seen the Thunder easy up when going up by double digits, but tonight the Thunder didn't let up, and took home a 22 point victory.
Outside of Westbrook and Durant, the Thunder scorers were kept quiet tonight.
What was, overall, the main reason why the Thunder won?
Last time these two teams met, Pekovic and Barea lit up the Thunder on the way to a 99-93 win. Tonight, the Timberwolves struggled to shoot the ball and weren't lifted by the typical fourth quarter Berea take over that the Thunder are accustomed to seeing.
As we'll see below, without those two the T-Wolves missed some offensive firepower that they desperately needed.
What was a key statistic to understanding the game?
In the third quarter, the Thunder shot 69%, while the Timberwolves went just 33% as Minnesota was unable to keep up with OKC in the second half. The only time the T-Wolves was really still in this game was at the end of the first, where they somehow managed a 16-16 tie.
Minnesota was able to slow down Ibaka and Martin for much of the game, but Sefolosha was able to score 10, helping out Durant and Westbrook on the night.
What does this game mean to the Thunder tonight and going forward?
For the second game in a row the Thunder went up against a team they had lost earlier in the year who is missing their best player in Kevin Love. This time they were available to avenge their early season loss. The Thunder are now 45-10 in the last 3 years following a loss, good for second best in the NBA (the Bulls have the best record with 41-8).
The Thunder will face the struggle Lakers who in desperation mode. A loss on Friday could very well spell the end of the Lakers' playoff chances.
|Final - 1.9.2013||1||2||3||4||Total|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||16||31||29||30||106|
Thunder Wonder: Kevin Durant, 26 points, 8 rebounds.
Thunder Down Under: Thabo Sefalosha, 10 points, 3 steals.
Thunder Blunder: Serge Ibaka, 6 points, 3 rebounds.
Thunder Plunderer: Nikola Pekovic, 17 points, 10 rebounds.
Next game: @ Los Angeles Lakers, on Jan. 11 @ 9:30 CDT
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