T-Wolves Takedown: Thunder Never Trail, Beat Minnesota By 20

Friday, January 15th 2016, 9:36 pm
By: Brett Coppenbarger

For the second time in four days the Thunder squared off with Northwest Division rival Minnesota, and for the second time in as many days OKC left the building with a win. This time, Kevin Durant scored 21 points and dished seven assists to lead his team to 113-93 win inside of Chesapeake Energy Arena.

1/15/16: Thunder Social Scene 

Russell Westbrook had a memorable performance on Friday night by recording a triple-double before the 4:11 mark of the third quarter. He along with Durant were able to rest in the fourth quarter due to the Thunder’s large lead, but Westbrook finished with 12 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in a game the Thunder never trailed.

Everything seemed to be going Oklahoma City’s way from the start, and that was evident with the intensity the Thunder were playing with from the defensive end of the floor. Minnesota only made one field goal in the first six and a half minutes and found itself facing a 14-point hole after the first frame.

It took until the second quarter, but the Timberwolves did show they had some fight left in them after narrowly losing to OKC in Minneapolis earlier in the week. Minnesota cut its 16-point deficit in half with a pair of big plays by Ricky Rubio and Shabazz Muhammad which led Thunder coach Billy Donovan to call a timeout.

Donovan opted to make a strategic change after the timeout by subbing in Enes Kanter for Anthony Morrow, and the lineup move worked in the Thunder’s favor. Durant, Westbrook, Serge Ibaka, Dion Waiters and Kanter outscored the Timberwolves 10-to-4 to close the half to take a 57-43 lead into intermission.

Oklahoma City’s euphoric play continued in the third quarter, and the crowd really began to appreciate the incredible performance by the home team. With the Thunder holding a 19-point lead, Muhammad tried to cut into the T’Wolves deficit with a dramatic one-handed dunk, but OKC center Steven Adams had other plans in mind. Adams emphatically rejected Muhammad at the rim and the ball found its way to the hands of Westbrook. The all-star point guard dribbled up court and launched a half court alley-oop pass to Andre Roberson who was able to soar through the air and flush home the slam. The electric sequence of plays gave the Thunder a 21-point lead while also blowing the roof off the arena.

The final quarter was a cakewalk for OKC as a mostly reserve lineup was able to extend the Thunder lead even more. Oklahoma City had maybe its best offensive performance of the season with a 31-to-6 assist-to-turnover ratio.

Along with Durant and Westbrook, Waiters (20), Payne (14), Ibaka (13) and Adams (12) all scored in double-digits while the bench contributed a whopping 47 points.

The Thunder will be back in action at home on Sunday when they host the Miami Heat. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m.