NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, January 4th (All times Eastern)
Oklahoma City Thunder (25-7) at Minnesota Timberwolves (16-16), 8 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - Two of the top scorers in the NBA who share the same first name collide Saturday, as Kevin Durant leads the Oklahoma City Thunder into a road matchup with Kevin Love and the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Durant leads the league with 28.6 points per game and Love is right behind at a 26.3 ppg clip. Durant scored 24 points on 8-of-13 shooting in Thursday's tough 95-93 loss at home to the Brooklyn Nets. Nets forward Joe Johnson sank the game-winning shot at the buzzer.
"That's tough to swallow, coming at the buzzer like that ... especially being up by so many points," Durant said after he was held to nine points in the second half.
Perry Jones scored 11 points off the bench and Serge Ibaka added 10 and 11 rebounds for the Thunder, who blew a 16-point lead and are mired in a rare two-game slide after winning three straight and 12 of the previous 13 games. The Nets went on a 14-0 run in the fourth quarter to take control.
Oklahoma City still shot 50 percent from the field and went 1-2 on its homestand. The last time the team lost three in a row was from Feb. 12-20 of last season.
The Thunder will try to extend their road winning streak to eight games Saturday and are 11-4 as the visiting team. Seattle won eight straight away from home during the 2001-02 campaign.
OKC has posted a 35-9 record in games following a loss since 2011-12. During the 2012-13 season, the Thunder responded to losses by posting a 17-4 record in the ensuing game.
Minnesota has won three of its last four games and will close out a three-game homestand Saturday. In Wednesday's 124-112 beating of the New Orleans Pelicans, Nikola Pekovic led seven players in double figures with 22 points and Love ended with 21.
Kevin Martin added 20 points, while Jose Juan Barea and Ricky Rubio netted 17 and 14 points, respectively, for Minnesota, which shot a season-best 55.7 percent for the game and improved to 10-5 at home. The Wolves led by as many as 30 points on the night and Rubio added nine assists and eight rebounds.
"It was a sustained effort from the guys tonight," said Minnesota head coach Rick Adelman. "Our group has a tendency to relax when we get a big lead, but they kept playing hard tonight."
Dante Cunningham and Alexey Shved scored 10 points apiece in the win.
The T'Wolves handed Oklahoma City a 100-81 loss back on Nov. 1, but the Thunder countered with a 113-103 victory one month later. The Northwest rivals will meet again Feb. 5 at Oklahoma City, which has prevailed in 15 of the last 18 matchups between the teams.
The Thunder have lost three straight after winning the last seven at Target Center.
01/04 10:31:46 ET