The Timberwolves entered tonight's game 9-0 when they led after three quarters. The Thunder entered tonight's game with a 4-0 record at home when they've trailed after three quarters.
It was the Thunder whose record remains unblemished though. Minnesota was outscored 35-20 in the final period. The Timberwolves held the lead through all three quarters, however the Thunder began the final period on an 8-0 run to take their first lead of the game with just over 10 minutes to play. They didn't give the lead back and that was thanks in large part to Minnesota's stone cold offense and reserve Reggie Jackson.
Jackson finished the night with 18 points, 11 of which came in the final period. He wasn't even close to the most impressive player in tonight's contest. Kevin Durant finished tonight with the fourth triple-double of his career. The last time these two teams met he finished with just 13 points on 4-11 shooting. He had 11 points after the first period and didn't slow down after that.
The Timberwolves led by three points (58-55) at halftime, despite allowing the Thunder to shoot 58.1% from the field. The Timberwolves made up for that high opponent shooting percentage thanks in large part to the 10 turnovers they forced the Thunder into and scoring 15 points off of them. In addition, they turned the ball over just six times in the first quarter for two made Thunder baskets. Minnesota also made six threes in comparison to OKC's two made threes.
The Timberwolves are now 1-4 vs. the Northwest division and 1-1 vs. the Thunder. They'll have two more opportunities against the Thunder this season, both coming in 2014.
Let's take a look at tonight's box score...
Kevin Love's recent struggles continued tonight as he finished with just 16 points on 29% shooting. Love was good in the first quarter where he scored 9 of his 16 total points on 3-4 shooting. He didn't make a field goal in the second quarter and went 1-for-8 in the second half to finish with those 16 points. If the Wolves are going to have any chance in their upcoming games against the Spurs & Heat, Love needs to find that success he had earlier this season offensively.
Minnesota allowed the Thunder to shoot 56.3% on 49 made field goals both of which are new season-highs for a Timberwolves opponent. This marks the fifth straight game the Wolves have allowed an opponent to shoot 48.9% from the field or better. Dallas shot 48.9% in the Wolves win last night, but the other four opponents (Houston, Indiana, Denver & OKC) all shot 50% or better. It's no surprise that in these four games, the Wolves are 0-4.
Tonight was also the fourth time in the last five games that the Wolves have allowed an opponent to shoot 47.4% or better from three-point. Tonight's 47.4% for OKC is the lowest of those four total games with the other four being 50%+.
Minnesota's defense needs a serious kick in the pants. There's absolutely no way they're going to make the playoffs if they're allowing their opponents to shoot such high percentages. There needs to be some resistance on the defensive end! Minnesota's offense has been good, now if their defense could be even half as good as their offense, they'd be a lot better than 9-10 on the year.
The bench scored 23 points tonight which is the highest since the 35 points the reserves scored in that blowout win over Brooklyn a little over a week ago. J.J. Barea had 9 points, which is his best scoring output since he had 12 vs. the Wizards on 11/19. But, make no mistake Barea was as awful tonight as he has been all season. I really can't believe how bad J.J. has been this season. Coming into the year, I was talking about how he could potentially be part of the "Sixth Man of the Year" race. I was dead wrong! Part of it may be playing with a second unit where he's the only real threat on the floor, but Adelman has often times mixed him in with different starters and Barea hasn't looked any better! I think I speak for many Wolves fans when I say that, maybe it's time to reduce J.J.'s minutes and give A.J. Price some more run. Adelman has (justifiably) bench Alexey Shved because of his poor shooting and terrible play on both ends of the court. Barea hasn't been much better and yet he still gets 15-20 minutes a game. I really don't understand it.
That's all for now, the Timberwolves have the next two days off. Minnesota's next game will be in Mexico City where they'll face the San Antonio Spurs. We'll have full gameday preview of that one up before Wednesday afternoon, until then thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!