Thunder Comes Up Short Against Minnesota

Friday, March 29th 2013, 10:30 pm
By: News 9

Oklahoma City's struggles in Minneapolis continued on Friday night as the Thunder fell to 0-2 at the Target Center this season.

Kevin Durant led OKC with 36 points on 13-of-19 shooting and a 9-for-9 showing from the free-throw line, but it wasn't enough to lift the Thunder after a cold-shooting fourth quarter.

Durant was 3-for-4 from the field in the final quarter as the Thunder tried time and time again to claw back into the contest but the rest of the team shot just 3-for-16, as OKC had its three-game winning streak snapped.

The T-Wolves led 53-48 at halftime and extended their lead to as much as nine in the third quarter. Oklahoma City chipped its way back in but could never get over the hump, closing the gap to as little as one point on three occasions before trailing 80-77 heading into the fourth.

But that's when the shooting got really rocky for OKC.

The Thunder scored only four points in the first seven minutes of the fourth quarter and all four came from KD. By the time Serge Ibaka sank a 15-foot jumper at the five-minute mark, the Wolves had already claimed an 11-point lead.

Oklahoma City showed some signs of life and trimmed the Minnesota lead to just five with 3:31 remaining after an eight-foot floater by Durant but the Thunder fell victim to another shooting drought that took the team out of contention. OKC trailed by 10 with 58 seconds remaining when Thabo Sefolosha broke the spell.

Russell Westbrook was solid in the loss with 18 points on 7-of-17 shooting and dished out nine assists. Sefolosha scored 10 points and connected on both of his 3-point attempts but the shooting woes were rampant for the rest of the team, which went a combined 12-for-38.

Minnesota, meanwhile, won with a balanced effort even without All-Star forward Kevin Love in the lineup.

Center Nikola Pekovic scored a team-high 22 points and hauled in a game-best 15 boards. Ricky Rubio scored 17 and dished out seven assists. Five T-Wolves scored in double figures and all 10 players who saw action scored.

Oklahoma City fell to 53-20 with the loss and 21-15 away from Chesapeake Energy Arena. Minnesota improved to 26-45.

Oklahoma City travels to Milwaukee to take on the Bucks on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.