NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, January 9th (All times Eastern)
Minnesota Timberwolves (16-15) at Oklahoma City Thunder (26-8), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The last time the Oklahoma City Thunder faced the Minnesota Timberwolves, they saw the second-longest winning streak in team history come to an end.
This time around, the Thunder hope to avoid just their second losing streak of the season as they play host to the Timberwolves on Wednesday evening.
Oklahoma City rattled off 12 straight victories from Nov. 24-Dec. 19, the longest winning streak since the club relocated from Seattle and second- longest in franchise annuals behind only a 14-game run by the SuperSonics from Feb. 3-March 5, 1996.
The Thunder averaged 108.6 points per game over the 12-game run, but were held in check offensively in a 99-93 setback at Minnesota on Dec. 20. The Timberwolves snapped a 12-game slide to the Thunder, but have still lost five straight in Oklahoma City.
Kevin Durant paced the Thunder with 33 points, seven rebounds and six assists, while Russell Westbrook had 30 points, 11 boards and nine assists. However, Oklahoma City hit just five of its 20 attempts from 3-point range.
J.J. Barea had 14 points in the fourth quarter for the Timberwolves and Kevin Love added 28 points, 11 boards and seven assists, but he is out for this rematch after re-fracturing his right hand last week.
Oklahoma City's loss to Minnesota was actually the first setback of its only losing streak this season as it followed with a defeat at Miami on Christmas Day. The Thunder are 5-2 since, but are coming off a 101-99 loss to the lowly Washington Wizards on Monday.
The Thunder rebounded from a pair of 10-point deficits in the game and tied the contest at 99-99 on Durant's 3-pointer with 36 seconds left, but the Wizards' Bradley Beal hit a game-winning shot with 0.3 ticks to play.
"They deserved to win the game, they played better than us," said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. "One of the things I tell our guys is that there are 29 teams that want to win just as bad as we want to. We didn't play well enough to win tonight and they deserved it."
Durant posted 29 points, eight assists and seven boards for the Thunder, who are 6-1 after a loss this season. Serge Ibaka scored a career-high 26 points to go along with 11 rebounds and Westbrook finished with 17 points and eight assists in defeat.
The Timberwolves hope to win consecutive games for the first time since a four-game run from Dec. 7-15 as they are coming off Tuesday night's 108-103 triumph over the Atlanta Hawks.
Nikola Pekovic had 25 points and a career-high 18 rebounds, while Andrei Kirilenko netted 21 points for a Minnesota club that had lost six of nine coming in.
"Last game we started slow, but tonight we had it going right from the beginning," Kirilenko said. "We were making shots and playing good defense and we got the lead right away. It was a great win."
Derrick Williams added 17 points for the T'Wolves, who beat the Hawks for the first time since April 9, 2006, snapping an 11-game slide. Alexey Shved scored 15 points and dished out seven assists.
Though Love was out and head coach Rick Adelman missed the game due to personal reasons, guard Ricky Rubio returned after missing four straight contests because of back spasms. He had eight assists in 18-plus minutes off the bench.
Minnesota begins a four-game road trip tonight and is 6-10 as the guest this season.
01/09 10:35:32 ET