THE FACTS: The Oklahoma City Thunder got off to another slow start but dominated the last three quarters to cruise past the short-handed Minnesota Timberwolves 106-84.
Kevin Durant led all scorers with 26 points, he also grabbed eight rebounds. His running mate, point guard Russell Westbrook had 23 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.
The Wolves (16-16) were playing without star forward Kevin Love who learned Wednesday he'll have to have surgery on his broken right hand and will be out eight to 10 weeks and also their head coach Rick Adelman, who missed his second straight game for personal reasons. Minnesota had five players score in double figures led by 18 from Alexey Shved and 17 from Nikola Pekovic. Pekovic also grabbed 10 rebounds. Derrick Williams came off the bench for Minnesota to pick up a double-double with 14 points and 11 boards.
In addition to the 49 points from Durant and Westbrook Oklahoma City (27-8) also got a big scoring night from Kevin Martin. KMart has struggled with his shot lately and did Wednesday, too (4-for-12) but all four of those makes were 3-pointers and he was 7-for-8 at the line. It all added up to 19 points, the most he's scored in the last six games.
The Thunder's slow offensive start (16 points in the first quarter) didn't bother them because they allowed the Timberwolves to score only 16 points, too, in the first 12 minutes.
QUOTABLE: "I thought our defense was good throughout the game and our offense finally kinda caught up with it in the second half but I thought our defense sparked us. The ball wasn't free and their passes weren't open."
-- Thunder head coach Scott Brooks
THE STAT: For the first six minutes of the game Minnesota was shooting 55.6 percent. After the media timeout the Thunder locked in on defense and held the Wolves to just 41.3 percent shooting and 73 points the rest of the way.
TURNING POINT: A 17-6 Thunder run early in the third quarter turned a three-point seat-squirmer into a bit more comfortable 14-point gap by the time the quarter was a bit past the halfway point. OKC didn't allow the margin to dip back into the single digits.
QUOTABLE II: "Our guys played hard but we just ran out of gas. I thought we did a good job in the first half, but we went through a couple of phases where offensively we really struggled. We weren't able to get anything going."
-- Timberwolves acting head coach Terry Porter
HOT: The Timberwolves started the game shooting 55.6 percent (5-for-9) in the first six minutes. ... Westbrook was 5-for-9 (15 points) and Durant was 5-for-10 (15 points) in the first half. ... The Thunder shot 55.3 percent (21-for-38) in the second half.
NOT: The Thunder struggled in the beginning shooting just 37.5 percent (3-for-8) and finished the first quarter even worse at 28.6 percent (6-for-21) and 16 points. ... Minnesota started hot but finished the quarter at 33.3 percent (7-for-21). ... Derrick Williams was 1-for-6 (two points) in the first half.
INSIDE THE ARENA: International music star Gary Morris sang the National Anthem and six-time MMA Champion Randy Couture, who wrestled collegiately at Oklahoma State, sat courtside. Another OSU alum also had floor seats, Cleveland Browns quarterback and Oklahoma City area native Brandon Weeden.
GOOD MOVE: With no Kevin Love to worry about, Serge Ibaka was able to help out down low on Pekovic. He and Kendrick Perkins held Pekovic to just eight points in the first half.
QUOTABLE III: "I think Perk set the tone for us tonight. His defense was key early on, making the other team shoot some tough shots. We fed off his energy."
GOOD MOVE II: Brooks picked up a rare technical foul halfway through the third quarter and it seemed to fire up his ball club. An 11-point OKC lead quickly ballooned to 17.
NOTABLE: Oklahoma City is now 7-1 (.875) in games following a loss this season and over the last three seasons OKC is 42-10 (.808) in bounce-back games.
UP NEXT: For the Timberwolves, Friday @ New Orleans, Sunday @ San Antonio, Monday @ Dallas. For the Thunder, Friday @ L.A. Lakers, Sunday @ Portland, Monday @ Phoenix.