Just Like Old Times: Thunder Cruises Past Minnesota

Friday, December 12th 2014, 11:30 pm
By: News 9

Somehow, for whatever reason, there are still people out there who think Russell Westbrook is holding Oklahoma City back from winning a championship.

That crowd sure has been quiet since he returned from injury.

Westbrook put on another show Friday night in Minnesota, leading the Thunder to its fifth straight win, 111-92 over the Timberwolves.

Westbrook's final line: 34 points on 12-of-19 shooting, 2-of-3 from 3-point range, 8-of-9 from the free throw line, six rebounds, six assists and two steals. While Kevin Durant has shown flashes of his normal self over the past week and a half, he's not himself just yet. In his stead, it's been Westbrook carrying the Thunder with his relentless energy and impossible-to-contain athleticism.

The Thunder rode Westbrook's energy and an efficient offensive performance to dominate the first quarter. The Thunder scored 39 points, most in a quarter for OKC this year.

Minnesota took on the Thunder without Ricky Rubio, Kevin Martin and Nikola Pekovic. It was going to be tough task for the Timberwolves with those players, so without them, winning was a near-impossible task.

For much of the game, Oklahoma City made it look that way. Everyone got in on the action Friday night. Kevin Durant, who continues to improve and look more like the Durant we've become accustomed to seeing over the years, needed to take just eight shots and scored 16 points. Steven Adams also had 16 points and added 11 rebounds, seven of those on the offensive end, for his second double-double of the season. Adams helped the Thunder hold a 47-31 advantage on the boards.

Serge Ibaka had 13 points and Anthony Morrow had 14 points off the bench, all in the first half.

Minnesota had five players in double figures, led by Andrew Wiggins and Shabazz Muhammad, who each scored 18 points.

The Thunder led by as many as 24 and led by 23 points on multiple occasions in the second and third quarters, but late in the third, Minnesota mounted a rally that made the Thunder sweat. Over the span of eight minutes, the Timberwolves went on a 21-8 run to cut the OKC lead to 95-84 with eight minutes remaining.

If there has been any major concern about OKC since entire team has been healthy, it's been the large leads that have evaporated in the second halves. Friday night, it nearly happened again, but the Thunder righted the ship before it was too late.

OKC hit just one field goal over the span of five minutes, but used a late 8-2 run to grab an 18-point lead with 2:14 to seal the win.

The Thunder is now 10-13, but the cupcakes of the past week are gone from the schedule. This upcoming week will test Oklahoma City and give everyone a real idea of how far away the Thunder really is right now.