The Oklahoma City Thunder look to bounce back from an embarrassing road loss to the Washington Wizards two nights ago as they host the Minnesota Timberwolves tonight at 8 p.m. EST.
The Thunder are still only a half game behind the Los Angeles Clippers for the best record in the NBA. One of the Thunder’s eight losses this season came at the hands of the Timberwolves in late December.
Minnesota beat the Thunder 99-93 on Dec. 20 in Minnesota despite 33 points from Kevin Durant and 30 from Russell Westbrook.
Westbrook had a near quadruple-double in that game recording 11 rebounds, nine assists and eight turnovers as well. The matchup against the inferior point guards from Minnesota brought out the worst of Westbrook though as he went 9-for-28 from the field in the loss.
The Thunder were without Kevin Martin in that game who was nursing a quad injury at the time. Martin will be back in action tonight but he has been struggling of late including a 3-of-12 shooting night vs. the Wizards.
The Timberwolves have been dealing with injuries all year and will again be without Kevin Love tonight. Love had 28 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists in the first meeting between these teams.
Ricky Rubio will be available though. Rubio had eight assists in Minnesota’s 108-103 win over Atlanta last night.
The Timberwolves had 13 offensive rebounds and will have to give the same kind of effort tonight on the offensive glass to beat the Thunder. OKC gave up too many second chance points to the Wizards in their last game which is one of the potential weaknesses of this Thunder team on a night-to-night basis.
Minnesota is 21st in the NBA in offensive efficiency this season but they are 8th in defensive efficiency. The Thunder are still the top offense in the league thanks to hot shooting to start the season. Lately, they have come back down to reality especially in terms of 3-point shooting percentage.
The Thunder play and shoot much better at home than on the road. Martin and the Thunder hope to end this 3-point shooting slump tonight in front of their home crowd.
Durant is averaging 35.2 points and 9.3 rebounds per game in his last nine games against Minnesota. OKC has to like their odds when their best player is putting up those kinds of numbers.