Scouting Report: Wolves (24-24) at Thunder (39-11) | Feb. 5, 2014
Timberwolves at Thunder | 7:00 PM — Chesapeake Energy Arena
Where to Watch: Fox Sports North
Where to Listen: 830 WCCO-AM
Despite the fact that the Oklahoma City Thunder has had postseason success, while the Minnesota Timberwolves are still trying to scratch the surface, the contests between the two teams is normally very entertaining.
Each star player (Kevin Love and Kevin Durant) will be without his tag team partners (Nikola Pekovic and Russell Westbrook) tonight. Expect a few role players to have a big impact in this one.
Oklahoma City (39-11) has a three-game lead for first place in the Western Conference. The Wolves (24-24) are three and a half games back form eighth place in the West.
Updated Note, 12:45 PM: The Timberwolves PR department announced forward Corey Brewer did not make the trip to be with his newborn son, Sebastian. He is expected to be with the team in New Orleans on Friday. His absence will be missed against the Thunder, particularly because he is the team's top on-ball perimeter defender. He did a good job containing Durant in their first meeting this year.
The Wolves are 1-2 against the Thunder this season. The last game came on Jan. 4 when the Wolves lost 115-111 at home against Oklahoma City.
In that game, Durant led OKC with 48 points, seven assists, seven rebounds and two steals while shooting 16-of-32 from the field and 4-of-9 from the 3-point line.
Feb. 5, 2014
Love played right along with Durant, putting up 30 points, 14 rebounds, five assists, two steals and a block. He was 11-of-21 from the field and 5-of-9 from the 3-point line.
Nikola Pekovic joined the 30-point club as well, scoring 31 while hauling in 11 rebounds. Kevin Martin scored 17 points and Corey Brewer had 15. Ricky Rubio nearly had a 4X5 game, finishing with 13 points, 10 assists, five steals and four rebounds. Minnesota’s bench finished with just five points, all coming from J.J. Barea.
This Week’s Results
The Wolves took down the Lakers 109-99 at the Target Center last night. Martin led all scorers with 32 points, while Love added 31 points and 17 rebounds. Brewer and Barea added 11 points each. Rubio had a game-high 13 assists.
The Wolves are 3-2 in their last five games.
Oklahoma City has won 11 of its last 12 games, with the last win coming on Monday against the Memphis Grizzlies at home.
The Thunder won 86-77 behind 31 points, eight assists and eight rebounds from Durant. Ibaka added 21 points and 12 rebounds, finishing with his team’s only double-double. Jackson was the only other Thunder player to score more than seven points, finishing with 12. OKC was able to hold Memphis to just 39.5 percent from the field.
What To Watch: Kevin Love vs. Kevin Durant
It always seems to come down to these two when the Wolves and Thunder face off.
If you want points, chances are you’ll find it in this matchup. Durant is first in the league with 31.1 points per game, nearly four points above second-place man Carmelo Anthony. Love is in fourth place, averaging 25.6 per game.
Love is vying for a rebounding title as well, averaging 13.2 per game, 0.8 back from DeAndre Jordan for first place in the league.
The only thing that could hold Love back is the physicality of last night’s game against the Lakers in which he played 40 minutes.
The Wolves are without Pekovic (ankle) indefinitely.
Oklahoma City’s All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook (knee) is out indefinitely as well.
|PG||Ricky Rubio||Reggie Jackson|
|SG||Kevin Martin||Thabo Sefolosha|
|SF||Luc Richard Mbah a Moute||Kevin Durant|
|PF||Kevin Love||Serge Ibaka|
|C||Ronny Turiaf||Kendrick Perkins|