THUNDER 115

TIMBERWOLVES 110
6 Offensive rebounds by Nick Collison, part of the Thunder’s 17 on the night

8 Assists for Russell Westbrook tonight, part of the Thunder’s 17 for the game

12 Rebounds for Serge Ibaka to go along with his eight points and two assists

19-9 Fast break points advantage for the Thunder

27-8 Second chance points advantage for the Thunder on the night

35 Scoring output for Russell Westbrook, including 9-for-10 shooting from the free throw line

43 Points for Kevin Durant on 15-for-23 shooting from the floor, including 4-for-6 from three-point land

53-39 Rebounding advantage for the Thunder on the night

The Thunder continues its road trip on Monday night at the Los Angeles Clippers. Game time is 9:30 p.m. Central and will air live on Fox Sports Oklahoma and the Thunder Radio Network.

The Thunder then travels to Phoenix to take on the Suns on Wednesday before heading to Sacramento to play the Kings on Friday and then back to Los Angeles to face the Lakers on Sunday.

GAME IN REVIEW


RECAP:
Less than a month ago, the Thunder and the Timberwolves played an incredible 149-140 double-overtime contest at Chesapeake Energy Arena, with the Thunder coming away victorious. Tonight in Minneapolis, the two teams orchestrated another shootout, with a similar result but not as much drama. Thanks to a massive effort on the glass and timely scoring performances from Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, the Thunder pulled out a 115-110 victory, despite a valiant effort by the Timberwolves.

“Every game it’s close, it’s either an overtime game or a last-two minutes game,” Head Coach Scott Brooks said of Minnesota. “They play with a lot of confidence against us and give them credit. They shot the ball well. They moved the ball.”

It was a back-and-forth affair throughout the entire first half that included six lead changes and seven ties, but the Thunder pulled away at the very beginning of the third quarter with a quick 10-0 burst. The Timberwolves were able to make it a one-possession game six different times in the fourth quarter, but thanks to 35 points by Russell Westbrook, who scored 16 points in the third quarter on 6-for-9 shooting and 20 points from Kevin Durant in the fourth quarter, the Thunder was able to prevail.

“(Durant) is a terrific player, a guy that really deserves the success that he gets because through all his hard work he earns it,” Brooks said. “He doesn’t ever want anything, he gives everything he has to the team. He made big shots, big plays and Russell set some great screens. You never talk about that in the stat sheet, but Russell got Kevin open at the elbow every time down the floor when we needed it.”

Durant shot 7-for-10 in the fourth quarter, while Westbrook continually fed him the ball at the elbow and allowed the two-time scoring champion to go to work. Throughout the third and fourth quarters the All-Star duo played off one another, allowing each other to play to their strengths and get the ball in spots on the floor where they can be efficient. After the game, Durant spoke to Thunder TV’s Kelly Crull, emphasizing his mentality heading into the fourth quarter.

“I just wanted to come out and being aggressive,” Durant said. “Russell did a great job in the third (quarter) of closing us out and I was just trying to be aggressive.”

On top of Durant’s 43 total points and Westbrook’s 35 of his own, the Thunder used a dominating rebounding performance that included a plus-14 margin and 17 offensive rebounds to create 27 second chance points. Those rebounds on the defensive end also led to 19 fast break points that helped the Thunder stave off every single Timberwolves rally. The experience of reeling in a difficult road win on the second night of a back-to-back will play dividends moving forward.

“This time of year it is about us improving,” Center Nazr Mohammed said. "Getting better and thinking about how we’re going to play and how we’re going to defend going into the playoffs.”

TURNING POINT:
The game turned at the start of the second half, when the Thunder turned a 59-58 halftime lead into an 11-point advantage at 69-58 with 9:34 remaining in the quarter. The quick 10-0 run jumpstarted the Thunder and helped give it a lead that it would never relinquish for the rest of the game. Kevin Durant started the run with a three-pointer off a Serge Ibaka assist, then Russell Westbrook knocked in two free throws to go with a three-pointer of his own. The Timberwolves cut the deficit to one point on multiple occasions, but the Thunder seemed to have answers every time, including with 15.6 seconds left when Minnesota cut the lead to two. Westbrook put in three-out-of-four free throws to close out the game and get the win.

PLAYS THE BOXSCORE WON’T SHOW, FIRST HALF:
Thabo Sefolosha crashes the offensive glass and snares a rebound, hitting Russell Westbrook for a mid-range jumper, then Kevin Durant makes a block… Sefolosha flings a pass cross-court to Durant for an open three-pointer, then Durant drives and kicks to Sefolosha for a floater… Serge Ibaka snares a defensive rebound with one hand, then he knocks down a mid-range jumper… Nick Collison tips in a missed shot while being pushed in the back, then Sefolosha rebounds his own miss and puts it in… Collison makes a block which leads immediately to a Westbrook to Durant fast break slam dunk… Collison with another offensive board that he brings down and puts in, then Derek Fisher hits Nazr Mohammed for a mid-range jumper… Mohammed and Collison play great defense at the rim to force two misses, then James Harden aggressively gets to the rim to draw a foul… Perkins sets a perfect screen for Durant, who knocks down a three-pointer off a Westbrook assist… Westbrook hits Ibaka for a bucket, then he swats a shot on the block that leads to a Durant layup… Westbrook then drives and dishes to Sefolosha for a three-pointer to get a two-for-one opportunity.

PLAYS THE BOXSCORE WON’T SHOW, SECOND HALF:
Perkins boxes out and snags a rebound, then Ibaka hustles to grab a rebound and hits Durant for a three-pointer… Durant plays solid perimeter defense to force a tough miss and Perkins grabs the defensive board, then Durant hits Westbrook for a three-pointer… Sefolosha grabs an offensive rebound then hustles back on transition defense and makes a smart foul to prevent a sure dunk, then Westbrook hits Durant for an alley-oop dunk… Ibaka and Perkins keep the possession alive on the offensive boards, then Westbrook finishes with a lefty layup… Harden slips into the lane and scores using his hard Euro-step to get to the rim for a layup… Westbrook makes the steal then hesitates to gauge where his defender was, then Westbrook hits Collison for a jumper... Ibaka makes an emphatic block, then Collison hits Westbrook for a three-pointer from the top of the key… Westbrook hits a gliding jumper at the third quarter buzzer… Durant picks up his own loose ball then hits a leaner with the foul… Collison finishes up a missed shot with a put-back, then Collison grabs another offensive board and gets a goaltending call for two points… Harden stays in front and draws a charge, then Collison hustles to force a jump ball under the offensive basket… Durant drives down the baseline and slams the ball while drawing the foul… Durant boxes out strongly to grab a defensive board, then Durant recovers on defense to slide over and force a turnover… Westbrook feeds Durant for a post-up basket when the Thunder really needed a bucket then Durant forces a turnover and Westbrook finishes it at the other end with a layup… Durant and Perkins combined to keep the possession alive, then Durant slides into the lane and scoops a layup in… Harden tips a rebound to himself after a Durant jumper, then Harden saves the possession by knocking the ball off an opponent… Westbrook knocks down two free throws with 13.8 seconds remaining to make it a four-point game.



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