The Oklahoma City Thunder were glad to be back home Wednesday night as they beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 106-94 to improve to 27-8 on the season.
This was the second meeting between the two teams. Minnesota got the better of OKC in the first meeting but they had Kevin Love for that game and Love did not play last night.
The Thunder were slow out of the gates last night scoring a season-low 16 points in the first quarter. They scored 90 points in the final three quarters outscoring the Timberwolves by 22 during that time.
The Thunder will be off tonight before taking on the Los Angeles Lakers on the road Friday night for their next game.
Here are the Game Grades:
Kevin Durant – 34 minutes, 26 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists – A
Durant had his usual great night last night with an added bonus of being even more all-around than normal. He blocked four shots and came up with three steals on defense in addition to his great offensive numbers. Durant had a tough matchup too with Andrei Kirilenko covering him but it didn’t seem to bother him much at all as most of his looks were very clean.
Russell Westbrook – 30 minutes, 23 points, 7 assists, 8 rebounds – A
This was a very good game from Westbrook who played much more under control than the first time against the Timberwolves. Westbrook went 9-for-28 from the field in the first meeting but went 7-of-14 last night including 3-for-4 from downtown. He only turned the ball over once as he did a great job taking what the defense gave him all game long. Westbrook can get a little carried away when he has such an advantageous matchup like he did last night with Luke Ridnour but last night he played within himself and that’s why the Thunder won so easily.
Serge Ibaka – 32 minutes, 6 points, 3 rebounds, 2 blocks – C+
Ibaka came into this game having scored a career-high 26 points in his last game vs. Washington. He was far from that last night but it’s not as if he was struggling from the field or anything. Minnesota just did a good job not leaving Ibaka wide open as much as he usually is so he simply didn’t take a lot of shots. So it was a quiet night for Ibaka while others stepped up in his absence.
Kevin Martin – 31 minutes, 19 points, 4 rebounds, 1 steal – B+
Martin found his touch from beyond the arc making 4-of-7 threes which is a great sign for the Thunder. He also got to the line eight times and made seven free throws which is another good sign. OKC is going to need this Martin for its upcoming road trip and not the one that has been struggling the way he has the previous few games.
Kendrick Perkins – 13 minutes, 2 points, 1 rebound, 1 block – D
Perkins got in foul trouble early on and even picked up a double technical when he bumped chests with Nikola Pekovic. So he would only play 13 minutes and no Thunder fan is complaining about that. Pekovic finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds so he didn’t exactly kill the Thunder and Perkins wasn’t really needed.
Thabo Sefolosha – 33 minutes, 10 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists – B+
Sefolosha made both of his 3-point attempts and also made three steals. It was a nice effort from Sefolosha who didn’t have to work too hard on the defensive end. When he’s hitting shots, the Thunder are at their best. Now let’s see him do it on the road.
Nick Collison – 17 minutes, 6 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist – B
Collison got in a little foul trouble committing four in just 17 minutes but made his presence known while he was out there. Most importantly, he snagged three offensive rebounds which is becoming even more important as this Thunder second unit struggles to find good shots in the flow of their offense.
Reggie Jackson – 18 minutes, 6 points, 3 rebounds – B
Jackson plays great defense and is a great athlete but he’s not really a point guard. He had no assists last night and simply doesn’t create much at all for his teammates. The Thunder will miss this at some point this season if he doesn’t start improving as a playmaker.
Hasheem Thabeet – 14 minutes, 4 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals – B
Thabeet did his job last night scoring a little and grabbing boards. You can’t expect much more from him these days.
DeAndre Liggins – 12 minutes, 4 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist – B+
Scott Brooks has rewarded Liggins with playing time recently and Liggins is making the most of it. He’s playing with a ton of energy and it’s exactly the kind of lift the Thunder second unit needs. He made assist driving and kicking to Durant for a three in the first half which is the kind of plays he is capable of making. Expect Liggins to keep getting chances in the near future.