Thunder Smoked By Timberwolves
MINNEAPOLIS - Oklahoma City was expected to struggle as it waits for Russell Westbrook to return to the lineup in the coming weeks, but nobody expected the Thunder to struggle like it did on Friday.
OKC went on the road and got dismantled by Minnesota 100-81 in the Target Center in a game that was nowhere near as close as the final score indicates. It marked the worst defeat for OKC since Feb. 20, 2011 and could have been much worse if not for a late run against the Wolves' bench.
The Thunder (1-1) played with a lack of energy and offensive direction that showed just how badly this team needs its dynamic point guard back on the court.
The Wolves (2-0) focused their efforts on taking Kevin Durant out of the equation and they were successful, holding KD to his worst scoring output since 2011 with just 13 points on 4-of-11 shooting and one assist.
And with KD relegated to a decoy, the rest of the roster failed to pick up the slack. Despite the defensive bracketing and constant attention, Durant was still the only Thunder starter to reach double figures.
Serge Ibaka struggled to find his shot for the second-straight game, shooting just 3-of-13 from the floor for nine points and Reggie Jackson tacked on eight on 3-of-9 shooting with seven turnovers.
Jeremy Lamb provided OKC's only other consistent scorer, putting up 16 points on 7-of-15 shooting off the bench.
Lamb provided about the only positive that could be found in Minneapolis, as OKC shot just 24.9 percent, connected on 7-of-31 from behind the arc, had a minus-5 assist-to-turnover margin, were outscored 17-2 in fast-break points and lost the points-in-the-paint battle 44-20.
Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic dominated in the paint, as both bigs went for double-doubles. Love had 24 points and 12 rebounds while Pekovic went for 15 and 10. Ricky Rubio had a double-double of his own in the backcourt with 14 points and 10 assists against just one turnover.
Former Thunder guard Kevin Martin had nine points on 4-of-11 shooting for the T-Wolves.
The Thunder heads back to Oklahoma City for its home opener on Sunday against the Suns at 6 p.m.