OKC dominate Love-less T-Wolves
Oklahoma City, OK (Sports Network) - Kevin Durant scored 26 points and grabbed eight rebounds as the Oklahoma City Thunder rolled to a 106-84 decision over a short-handed Minnesota Timberwolves squad at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Russell Westbrook accumulated 23 points, eight rebounds and seven assists to help the Thunder bounce back from Monday's startling 101-99 setback at league- worst Washington, with Kevin Martin contributing 19 points off the bench to the rout.
Oklahoma City shot 55.3 percent in the second half to pull away while making 11-of-20 attempts from 3-point range for the game, with Martin going 4-of-7 from long distance and Westbrook knocking down 3-of-4 tries from beyond the arc.
Minnesota, which was without head coach Rick Adelman for a second straight night due to a personal matter and lost All-Star forward Kevin Love for an extended period last week, received 18 points from Alexey Shved and a 17- point, 10-rebound effort from Nikola Pekovic.
Derrick Williams finished with 14 points and 11 boards in the loss, the Timberwolves' fifth in their last six outings on the road.
After Westbrook accounted for the final five points of the first half to stake the Thunder to a 47-42 edge at the break, Oklahoma City dominated the final two quarters to put the game out of reach.
Shved began the third quarter by sinking a jumper, but the Thunder scored the next seven points and grabbed a double-digit spread when Thabo Sefolosha's trey 1:28 into the second half made the score 54-44.
Oklahoma City continued to control the action from there, with Minnesota never getting closer than eight points down and falling behind by a 74-58 count after Martin finished off an 8-2 run with a 3-ball with 2:21 to go in the third quarter.
Durant's dunk off one of Shved's seven turnovers on the evening pushed Oklahoma City's lead past the 20-point mark at 93-72 with six minutes left, and Martin buried another triple on the Thunder's next possession to further increase the differential.
After a sluggish opening quarter in which neither team shot better than 33 percent and ended in a 16-16 tie, the Thunder began to heat up in the second.
The contest was deadlocked again at 22-22 early in the period, before Oklahoma City embarked on a 14-2 run to break things open. Westbrook netted five points during the surge, and his layup and free throw just past the midway point of the second quarter put the Thunder up by a 34-24 score.
Serge Ibaka followed with a dunk in transition to extend the margin to 12 points, though Minnesota would get back into it shortly afterward by virtue of a 13-2 burst late in the half.
A Shved 3-pointer started the flurry, which Andrei Kirilenko capped with two successful free throws that forged a 42-42 tie with 1:13 remaining prior to the intermission.
Westbrook drove the lane and scored on Oklahoma City's next trip, though, then knocked down a long-range bucket with 37.3 seconds on the clock to send the Thunder into the locker room up by five.
The Timberwolves announced prior to the game that Love will undergo surgery to repair his recently fractured right hand and is expected to miss between 8- to-10 weeks ... Minnesota also played without guard J.J. Barea, who sat out with back spasms ... Oklahoma City has now won 13 of the last 14 meetings between the clubs, with the T-Wolves' lone triumph over that span a 99-93 home win on Dec. 20 ... Minnesota point guard Ricky Rubio played on consecutive days for the first time since returning from ACL surgery last month, and had seven assists in 22 minutes despite not registering a point ... The Timberwolves fell to 0-7 when scoring under 90 points this season, compared to a 16-9 mark when surpassing that number.