Durant's 48 Leads Thunder Past Wolves

Durant's 48 Leads Thunder Past Wolves

The Minnesota Timberwolves were on the wrong end of perhaps this season’s most entertaining game on Saturday night, as they fell 115-111 to the Oklahoma City Thunder at Target Center.

Kevin Durant, sometimes known as the “Durantala,” bit the Wolves hard in the fourth quarter. He scored 23 points in the frame, helping the Thunder outscore Minnesota 38-24 in the final 12 minutes. Durant finished with 48 points, seven assists and two steals in the win.

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Wolves vs. Thunder

“He can shoot it, put it on the floor, he pretty much does everything,” said Wolves wing Corey Brewer who guarded Durant for the majority of the evening.

The All-Star forward hit an 18-foot jump shot to give the Thunder a 113-111 lead with four seconds left and deflated the Target Center. The Wolves, though, got another chance as Kevin Love was fouled from the 3-point line by Kendrick Perkins with two seconds left, giving Love three free-throw shots. Love missed the first two, before intentionally missing the third. He missed the rim, and the Thunder took back the ball and the game.

“Oh, yeah, of course,” said Nikola Pekovic when asked if he would want Kevin Love in that situation every time. “No doubt about that.”

On a positive note for the Wolves, Minnesota dominated the paint, outscoring the Thunder 66-46 down low. Pekovic led the way for Minnesota, scoring 31 points while hauling in 11 rebounds. He was 13-of-22 from the field. Love was effective as well, finishing with 30 points, 14 rebounds and five assists while shooting 5-of-9 from the 3-point line. Ricky Rubio had a double-double, scoring 13 points while dishing out 10 assists. He also had a game-high five steals. Kevin Martin and Brewer combined for 32 points. The bench, though, left more to be desired, as for the second time this week, scored just five points – all coming from J.J. Barea.

No other player other than Durant scored more than 13 points for the Thunder. Derek Fisher led the second unit with 13 points, while rookie Steven Adams put up 10. Serge Ibaka finished with 12 points, while Reggie Jackson added 10.

For the second time this week, the Wolves failed to get over the .500 hump. They are now 16-17 overall, 2.5 games back from the Dallas Mavericks for eighth place in the Western Conference. Minnesota will have to have a short memory, as it plays again on Monday.

“You lose a game like that, you learn from it, you certainly learn from it,” said Wolves coach Rick Adelman.

“It’s a tough loss, but we got to get back to work and win the next one. Keep our heads up.”

Leader of the Pack: Nikola Pekovic

It’s been a good couple of days for Pekovic. The big man celebrated his 28th birthday and had some cake on Friday. He continued the fun on Saturday, finishing with 31 points and 11 rebounds. It was Pek’s third 30+ point game this season.

Pekovic is averaging 21.3 points and 9.7 rebounds in his last 10 games.

Highlight of the Night

With 9:50 left in the third quarter, Kevin Love did what Kevin Love does best (well, he also is good at rebounding… and can score). He hauled in his 11th rebound and heaved a full-court pass to Kevin Martin for a layup to give the Wolves a 61-51 lead, forcing an Oklahoma City timeout.

The Numbers Game

  • The Wolves have now scored 30 plus points in the first quarter 15 times. They entered the night 11-3 when doing it, including a perfect 7-0 at home.

  • Durant had six free-throw attempts in the first quarter. In two games against Minnesota going into the game, Durant had just seven attempts. He finished Saturday night with 13 attempts.

  • Postgame Podcast

    Wolves vs. Thunder

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  • With 30 points and 14 rebounds, Love now has 29 double doubles in 32 games.

  • Of Minnesota's 34 FG through three quarters, 23 were in the restricted area, four were threes and seven were inbetween.

  • Rubio notched his sixth game with five or more steals. He now has a league-leading 95 steals on the season.

  • Quotable

    “I thought we played well enough to win. We did everything but win.” – Wolves head coach Rick Adelman on his team’s effort on Saturday.

    Next Up

    The Timberwolves hit the road on Monday to take on the Philadelphia 76ers. The game is slotted for 6 p.m. on Fox Sports North and WCCO 830-AM. After that, the Wolves play the Phoenix Suns at home at 8:30 p.m.

    For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter, and join the conversation at WolvesNation.com