Drama. Excitement. High-Pressure.
In a game that had all the ingredients of a game of the year candidate, the Thunder took the early blows yet stuck together. The Minnesota Timberwolves hit the Thunder with their best punches until the final knockout blow was given from Andrew Wiggins with no time to answer. Watch:
Carmelo Anthony, on the previous play, had drained a three that gave the Thunder a 113-112 lead with just four seconds remaining. Wiggins received the inbounds pass and his teammate Karl-Anthony Towns spring him free with a pick on Paul George, and was able to work the ball to the middle of the floor and launched an off-balance trey that banked off the glass and in for the game-winner.
It was a hard fought battle as the Thunder fell to the Timberwolves 115-113 on the second night of a back-to-back. The effort was there all night. The Thunder’s big guns made some huge plays down the stretch. However, the team knows there were some defensive breakdowns at times and missed opportunities on the offensive end.
The Timberwolves had a 88-75 lead after three quarters when Russell Westbrook finally made his presence felt in the fourth quarter. He scored 15 of his 31 in the final frame and put the Thunder in a position to win. He made the long three that tied the game at 110 and then set up Melo for the three that put the Thunder ahead.
It was a night of runs as the Timberwolves made the initial pushes, getting multiple double-digit leads, but the Thunder would respond each time showing there is no quit in this team. The lead was as big as 14 in the third and the Thunder responded with a big push in the fourth to create the exciting finish.
The Thunder also received big contributions from their bench as Raymond Felton and Jerami Grant both scored 12 points and led the Thunder bench to 26 points. Steven Adams asserted himself in the first half and scored 14 of his 17 as he battled Wolves big man Towns.
The Thunder shot 48% from the field, connected on 11 threes, and also scored 60 points in the paint. The T’Wolves shot 50% from the field, controlled the rebounding battle 45-36, and shot 82% from the free throw line (19-23).
Wiggins finished with 27 points on 10-of-20 shooting and Towns also scored 27 points with 12 rebounds. Jeff Teague contributed 19 points.
Westbrook led the Thunder with 31 points and 10 assists. Melo chipped in 23 points and Adams had a double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds. Paul George scored 14 points with 8 assists and 6 rebounds.
The Thunder will look to bounce back as they meet the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night in Oklahoma City.