OKC vs. MIN Game Preview – Dictating Tempo on Both Ends

On offense, the Thunder wants to get out in the open field to create easy transition opportunities, but on the defensive end, it wants its opponents to do the exact opposite.

In its final clash during its six-game home stand, the Thunder will face a tough task in the Minnesota Timberwolves, who average the most field goal attempts of any team in the league and the third most points due to their high-tempo offense. With a plethora of playmakers all over the court, the Timberwolves utilize strong outlet passes and speed along the wings to get up and down the floor, and then the pick-and-roll when they are stopped and forced to execute in the halfcourt.

“They’re such a good team with Kevin Love, (Ricky) Rubio and Kevin Martin do a good job of getting ahead of the ball, so we just have to do a good job of getting back,” Russell Westbrook explained.

In addition to ranking in the top ten in free throw percentage, attempts and makes, the Timberwolves also are currently second in the NBA in offensive rebounding, adding to its opportunities to score on every possession. The Timberwolves also average the eight most assists in the NBA, helping its offense flow smoothly, something Head Coach Scott Brooks’ club must try to stymie tonight.

“They can really move the basketball,” Brooks said. “They’re a great passing team.”

The Thunder, however, is riding a six-game winning streak, including the first five games of its homestand at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Utilizing a stout defense that is holding opponents to just 42.9 percent shooting from the field and 34.8 percent from the three-point line.

That defense will propel its transition offense, where the Thunder ranks seventh in the NBA in fast break points per game. If the Thunder can make stops on the defensive end and use its athleticism out in the open floor to get layups and transition threes, Brooks and company will feel confident it can give itself a chance to win tonight before hitting the road for three straight away from Oklahoma City.

In the Notes:

- The Thunder is 0-1 against the Timberwolves this season, and overall is 15-5 against Minnesota.

- The Thunder is 9-1 when it outrebounds its opponent, including 3-1 when outrebounding its opponent by ten-or-more

- The Thunder is 6-2 this year when it scores the same number or more points in the paint as its opponent.

Broadcast Info:

6:00 p.m. CT. TV – Fox Sports Oklahoma, Radio – 98.1 FM The Sports Animal, Thunder Radio Network