OKC Thunder fall at the hands of Minnesota 116-106: Player Grades

Tre Mann #23 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Justin Tafoya/Getty Images)
Tre Mann #23 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Justin Tafoya/Getty Images) /
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The OKC Thunder lost to the Minnesota Timberwolves 116-106 in their home opener at the Paycom Center after Anthony Edwards 30-point night.

The OKC Thunder hosted the Minnesota Timberwolves in their home opener at the Paycom Center. It was the Thunder’s second night of a back-to-back after playing in altitude against the Denver Nuggets. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was ruled out of the contest in the warm-ups due to a hip contusion so Tre Mann got the start.

Oklahoma City was already down Chet Holmgren for the year, Jalen Williams for 7-10 days, and then Shai Gilgeous-Alexander pregame while seeing Josh Giddey exit in the middle of the game with an ankle sprain. The banged-up Thunder fell late to the Timberwolves.

The first quarter offered a slow start from the OKC Thunder on both sides of the ball. Coach Mark Daigneault elected to double Karl Anthony-Towns at the elbow but it created problems on the backside. Minnesota scored 24 of its 31 points in the paint to lead the first 31-20.

Oklahoma City came into the second quarter with a lot more energy, pushing the tempo and creating a lot of open looks. The second unit played with purpose and physicality, taking away those easy looks in the paint. OKC cut it to seven but Towns and Anthony Edwards scored 12 of Minnesota’s 22 points to keep them afloat. The Thunder trailed 53-44 at the half.

In typical OKC Thunder fashion, the team made a run in the third to make it a three-point ball game. Good ball movement, open shots, and solid defense lead the charge. However, the quarter would be marred by the news of Giddey sustaining an ankle sprain ruling him out for the rest of the game. Minnesota regained control to lead 82-74 into the fourth.

Then the fourth quarter happened. The Wolves sunk five threes in the space of two minutes to turn an eight-point lead into 20. Oklahoma City fought valiantly but Minnesota ended up winning comfortably 116-106.