Minnesota and Oklahoma City came into this season with new faces on the team. Being division rivals that means that they will see each other four times in the year. The Timberwolves added Jimmy Butler, Jeff Teague, Taj Gibson, and Jamal Crawford in the offseason and wanted to be taken serious coming into the season to stop their playoff drought. The Oklahoma City Thunder on the other hand have been extremely successful in the 10 year existence off the team and this offseason they improved tremendously. The Thunder added Paul George and Carmelo Anthony which would set up for a perfect matchup.
The Thunder were coming off their first loss of the season against the Utah Jazz last night in Salt Lake and wanted to bounce back. Russell Westbrook was very passive last night in Utah and came out against the Minnesota Timberwolves with the MVP mindset that we all know about. Westbrook came out in attack mode and didn’t look back at all as he was able to attack the rim and get to his spots to help his teammates out. This team in OKC is special and if they can all get on the same page they could be unstoppable. This OKC team is like the “07/08” Boston Celtics with hungry stars that will need to sacrifice to make it work. The OKC Big 3 showed a lot of sacrifice and promise throughout the night against the Timberwolves. The Thunder Big 3 of Westbrook, Anthony, and George combined for 68 points tonight and looked really good. Melo and Russ found their stroke from all over the court and Paul George wasn’t able to get it going but kept shooting. One thing we know about PG is that he’s going to continue to shoot the ball and look for his rythym. One thing that was really good to see tonight from the Thunder was the production from the bench. Raymond Felton and Jerami Grant both contributed 12 points each and were able to carry the load when Westbrook and the other starters went to the bench.
The Timberwolves on the other hand were able to scrap and stay in the game as they played off of their stars in Towns and Wiggins. Both Towns and Wiggins had 27 points a piece and were able to get get open looks and easy second chance points throughout the game. Once Andre Roberson exited the game it seemed as though Wiggins got his game going and was able to hit some tough shots over Abrines. Towns was playing like a monster in the paint and was able to get rebounds and takeover the paint on the offensive end. The good thing about the Timberwolves squad is the fact that it’s well balanced and everyone knows their role in the offense. All of the starters were able to score in double figures and were able to click on all cylinders for the Timberwolves. The Thunder were struggling on the pick and roll from the Timberwolves and couldn’t get to Towns in time throughout the game especially when Steven Adams came out the game.
Russell Westbrook got the inbound pass with 8 seconds left and was able to drive and kick it to Melo for the 3 pointer to give them the lead. Everyone wanted to know who would get the ball in the late game situations and it seems like whoever is open will get the ball. Carmelo hit the 3 pointer but the Thunder needed to hurry up to get back on defense as the Timberwolves still had 4 seconds to have a chance to score. The ball was inbounded to Wiggins as he was able to get down the court with the help of what looked like an illegal screen but Towns and hit a hail mary bank shot with no time remaining for the Timberwolves to come into OKC and steal the victory from the Thunder.
Both teams play again on Friday and the Thunder will be looking for some revenge for this loss tonight.
Photo Credit: (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)