shorthanded Oklahoma City Thunder fall to Timberwolves, start 0-3

Jeremiah Robinson-Earl #50 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
Jeremiah Robinson-Earl #50 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /

The Oklahoma City Thunder played host to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday to open up their home slate. The Thunder started the season with two road games, participating in Minnesota’s home opener and Denver’s home opener on Wednesday and Saturday respectively. Now, on the second leg of a back-to-back, the Oklahoma City Thunder had to take on the Timberwolves again.

Before the game, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was ruled out with a hip contusion injury he suffered in the fourth quarter of Saturday night’s contest against the Nuggets. He joined Chet Holmgren (Foot) and Jalen Williams (Orbital Bone Fracture) on the injury report. Of course, Holmgren will be out for the year, while Williams should return in 7-10 days.

Oklahoma City Thunder was shorthanded against the Minnesota Timberwolves and suffered their first double-digit loss of the season

After seeing Shai Gilgeous-Alexander miss the home opener, Josh Giddey also was ruled out after playing in 21 minutes for the Thunder with an ankle sprain. When he was in the game, Giddey scored ten points, five assists, two rebounds, and shot 45 percent from the floor.

There was a lot of pressure put on Tre Mann, offensively, and he shouldered that in a big way dancing with the Wolves’ defense to create open looks that just would not fall from beyond the arc. Mann missed all six of his triples, and only posted ten points in 27 minutes of action. Despite the lackluster box score, Mann played well creating separation and making good decisions in transition.

The biggest standout of the game was second-year big man Jeremiah Robinson-Earl who posted 15 points in 25 minutes while shooting 3-for-4 from distance, and 83 percent overall. Robinson-Earl also dished out three assists and hauled down a couple of rebounds with a steal on the defensive end.

After the game, the Villanova product talked about the addition of Chip Engelland and how important the new shooting coach has been to getting Robinson-Earl in a groove saying Engelland does not believe there is only one way to shoot, he just wants to take your jump shot and “simplify it.”

Once again, Mike Muscala provided a spark off the bench going for 11 points, nine rebounds, and a block on 66 percent shooting, but he was one of six Thunder players in double-figures as Eugene Omoruyi also logged 13 points as a reserve mostly in the fourth quarter when the game was out of reach.

The Minnesota Timberwolves just overwhelmed the Thunder with their size and stars. Minnesota won the rebounding battle 60-49, while Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert each had 15 points, and Anthony Edwards had a dominant 30-point night with 11 rebounds, three assists, and a steal.

The Timberwolves bench unit of Taurean Prince and Jaylen Nowell is who allowed the Timberwolves to pull away in this game with timely buckets to go on a run.

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