Wolves Fall to Thunder in OT


Thunder 118 (29-16) - Timberwolves 117 (10-35) | Target Center


MENZIE HENDERSON
Wolves Writer


How it happened:
In any strenuously close NBA contest, it is the superstars who emerge to be the heroes. Tonight, it was the colossal battle of Kevin Love and Michael Beasley vs. Kevin Durant.

Like every epic battle, the outcome isn’t determined until both parties are thoroughly exhausted. Tonight’s saga between the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Oklahoma City Thunder was settled after four gut-wrenching quarters and one heart-pounding overtime period. Unfortunately, it was Kevin Durant and the Thunder who were crowned victorious with a 118-117 win.

As Durant poured in shot after shot, the Wolves were able to combat the lethal attack with the weapons of Beasley and Love.

However, Durant was simply unstoppable. The All-NBA forward scored 36 of his career-high 47 points in the second half, including 16 straight for the Thunder in the fourth quarter.

As the thrilling back-and-forth game continued, the Timberwolves had a chance to ice the game sending Luke Ridnour to the line clinging to a 109-108 lead with 12.2 seconds left. The 92 percent free throw shooter shockingly went 1-of-2 from the line, leaving the door open for the Thunder.

With stingy defense being played on Durant, the Thunder turned to Jeff Green who nailed a running jump shot to tie it 110-110. Then, the Timberwolves were granted one final chance in regulation and went to Love who attempted a hook shot that barely missed sending the grueling battle to overtime.

A physical extra period continued the back-and-forth pace until Minnesota had one last attempt at triumph. Down 118-116 and 7.6 seconds left on the clock, Corey Brewer headed to the line after a loose ball foul for two attempts. Brewer calmly knocked down the first, but missed the second. With the final seconds dwindling away, Wesley Johnson corralled the rebound and immediately passed to Ridnour who rushed an errant three-point attempt that fell into the hands of the Thunder, leaving the Timberwolves with a heartbreaking loss.

Leader of the Pack:
Consistency is what defines Kevin Love’s game. The All-Star hopeful yet again racked up surreal numbers recording his 31st straight double-double with 31 points and 21 rebounds. Putting the Timberwolves on his back in crunch time, the forward scored 14 points in the fourth quarter to keep his team in contention. Love's 30/20 performance is his third of the season, as the rest of the NBA field has yet to record one.

Notable Performance:
Michael Beasley returned to assassin mode tonight, looking to attack and score nearly every time he touched the rock. As Beasley continues to recover from a nagging ankle injury, he is starting to regain the deadly explosiveness that makes him such a prolific scorer. Beasley didn’t need much room tonight, hitting repeatedly with a hand in his face. Beasley did it all tonight, finishing with 30 points, 9 rebounds, and 7 assists.

Highlight to Remember:
Corey Brewer continued to add to his highlight reel with hammering dunks on back-to-back possessions in the first quarter. The first slam was credited to Darko Milicic showing off his European dribbling skills by leading a fast-break and dishing to the streaking Brewer who ended the play with an emphatic dunk. The next possession was even better. Ridnour led the break and lobbed it up to the high-flying Brewer who slammed it home. The back-to-back highlights got the crowd and momentum on the Wolves side early.

Rookie Report:
Wesley Johnson made a huge impact for the Wolves coming off the bench and contributing 13 points and 5 assists. Johnson played a pivotal role in the second half, scoring at key moments and doing his best to stop Kevin Durant's offensive arsenal.

Looking Ahead:
The Wolves will travel to Utah to face the Jazz on Friday night. Minnesota will return home for a matchup against the Toronto Raptors on Saturday night at the Target Center.


For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Jonah on Twitter.