In a festive Christmas night showcase, the Oklahoma City Thunder bested the Minnesota Timberwolves 112-100.
Russell Westbrook paced a well-balanced Oklahoma City attack with 31 points, 15 assists, and 7 rebounds. Steven Adams added 22, as Enes Kanter’s 20 punctuated a dominant 50-26 scoring edge by OKC’s reserves.
Meanwhile, though unsuccessful in their efforts, Minnesota’s talented triumvirate of Karl-Anthony Towns (26), Andrew Wiggins (23), and Zach LaVine (16) combined for 65 of the Timberwolves’ 100 total points.
Minnesota's record drops to 9-21 as the Thunder improve to 19-12 following an entertaining Northwest Division battle.
Thunder are now 19-12 after Christmas Day. They were 20-10 on this day last season.— Royce Young (@royceyoung) December 26, 2016
The Thunder and Timberwolves began a disjointed contest on even terms. Amid the early chaos, Russell Westbrook's opening-quarter miscues continued. As Westbrook struggled to establish a controlled pace, Minnesota crafted a 21-15 advantage. Behind Karl-Anthony Towns' eight points, the Timberwolves brought a 27-23 lead into the second frame.
As quarter two unfolded, the superb play of Enes Kanter sparked a 10-4 OKC run to place the Thunder ahead 33-31. From that point, the teams traded baskets as each searched for a definitive upper hand. However, neither found that elusive wellspring. At intermission, the Thunder held a tentative 57-53 edge by way of a buzzer-beating Semaj Christon three-point basket.
Russell Westbrook’s usual second-quarter awakening placed the eighth-year star ahead of all other first-half scorer’s with 17 points. Kanter’s 10 point contribution headlined OKC’s plus 17 bench-scoring margin.
Conversely, the Wolves were led by Karl-Anthony Towns’ 16 point, seven rebound opening-half salvo. Andrew Wiggins’ 11 also buoyed the visiting team’s ambitions to prevail.
In a back-and-forth half, the lead switched hands 11 times, as both Minnesota (26 points) and Oklahoma City (32 points) put forth diligent production in the paint.
Ignited by Steven Adams' quick burst, the Thunder fashioned a 66-58 lead to begin a buzz-saw second-half march. Though Minnesota toiled to remain in the fray, Westbrook and Adams' combined 21-point onslaught negated such bravado. Oklahoma City entered the final period sporting a comfortable 86-75 twin-digit cushion.
Spurred by a raucous Chesapeake Energy Arena contingency, the hard-charging Thunder blew open the floodgates in the fourth. Rusell Westbrook put a cap on the night’s revelries by exuberantly celebrating with fans as OKC enjoyed a late 20-point lead.
As the final horn sounded, Oklahoma City boasted a solid 112-100 victory over Minnesota to secure a third-consecutive win —and fourth in five contests.
The Northwest Division leading Thunder next play Tuesday Dec. 27 vs. the Miami Heat.