NBA Preview from The Sports Network|
Sunday, December 1st
(All times Eastern)
Minnesota Timberwolves (9-9) at Oklahoma City Thunder (11-3), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Oklahoma City Thunder have three losses on the
season and one of them came at the hands of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Thunder look to exact revenge on the T'Wolves when the Northwest Division
rivals tangle Sunday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Oklahoma City suffered a 100-81 loss at Minnesota on Nov. 1, as Jeremy Lamb
and Kevin Durant scored 16 and 13 points, respectively. Russell Westbrook was
still recovering from knee surgery then, while Kevin Love led the Wolves with
24 points and 12 rebounds.
Westbrook is back for Sunday's matchup for the Thunder, who have won 15 of the
past 20 meetings with Minnesota and seven straight in the OKC.
All of Oklahoma City's losses have come on the road this season and the
Thunder will close out a six-game homestand versus the Timberwolves. The
Thunder are 5-0 on the homestand and have won all eight of their home tests
this season, including Friday's 113-112 overtime triumph versus the Golden
State Warriors thanks to Westbrook's game-winning 3-pointer with 0.1 seconds
remaining in the extra period.
"I didn't want to tie the game, I was trying to win. I'm just thankful it went
in," said Westbrook, who had a season-high 34 points, seven assists and five
Durant followed with 25 points, 13 rebounds and five assists, and Serge Ibaka
added 18 points and 13 boards for the Thunder, who survived despite shooting
39.1 percent and have won six in a row overall.
The Thunder franchise hasn't started 9-0 at home since 2004-05 and will begin
a three-game road trip Tuesday against Sacramento, Portland and New Orleans.
Indiana and Chicago are the other unbeaten home teams this season.
Minnesota was able to snap a three-game losing streak with Saturday's 112-106
victory at Dallas, as Kevin Martin led the way with 27 points and both Nikola
Pekovic and Love scored 21 points. Love also had 11 rebounds and leads the NBA
with 13.7 boards per game.
Corey Brewer and Ricky Rubio scored 13 and 12 points, respectively, for the
Timberwolves, who shot 50.6 percent for the game and made 21-of-30 free
throws. Martin ended 10-of-11 from the charity stripe.
Minnesota led by as much as 11 points in the fourth quarter despite the
Mavericks' effort to come back.
"Yes, it was very important," Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman said. "Like I
told them, it doesn't mean you can't come out and win tomorrow. You have to
get the first win and then you have to build off it. There are teams that turn
things around and get going the other direction. Denver did it. They came in
here and won it and then they beat us. We have to win on the road, since we're
playing a lot of road games."
The Wolves are in the midst of playing 10 of 15 games on the road and have a
3-6 record away from the Twin Cities.
After Minnesota visits the OKC, it will return to Target Center to host a pair
of tough games versus San Antonio and Miami. The Spurs and Heat, of course,
battled in last season's NBA Finals.
12/01 10:28:55 ET