OKC Thunder (28-16, 12-10 road) at Minnesota Timberwolves (10-34, 8-13 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 109.9 (7th), Wolves – 105.5 (19th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 108.3 (18th), Wolves – 111.5 (27th)
Pace: Thunder – 93.0 (13th), Wolves – 97.1 (1st)
View from the enemy: A Wolf Among Wolves
A nice little bounce back opportunity after the Thunder lost a heartbreaker in New Orleans? Not so fast my friend. Remember the last trip to Minnesota with OKC looking to bounce back? The Thunder got behind by like 50 in the first quarter and had to scrap back to beat the Wolves.
Minnesota coming in: The Wolves had dropped four straight and nine of 10. They last played at home on Monday.
Obviously Kevin Love gives Minny its biggest edge. He’s a beast on the glass, relentless in every way. Jeff Green had better be ready to battle, otherwise we could see a ho-hum 20-rebound night from Love. Thing is though, Love’s turned into quite an offensive weapon. He’s a 30-point threat with range extending to the 3-point line. Green has an athletic ability edge and Love’s not a great defender, but this is the matchup to keep an eye on.
Russell Westbrook has Luke Ridnour and Jonny Flynn to worry about, both quality scoring point guard. It’s a good edge in OKC’s favor, but not a total wash.
Michael Beasley is probably Minnesota’s top go-to scorer and best isolation player. In the last meeting, he really tore up OKC for a half before he started missing shots. Kevin Durant has an advantage there obviously, but Beasley’s no slouch. He’s great off the dribble and plus he’s developing a nice spot-up game from outside.
Darko Milicic was out for the Wolves last time so with him back, he gives the Wolves a good rebounding presence and rim protector. So naturally the matchup of Milicic and Nenad Krstic is something that will have the entire country tuned in.
A chance to get right, but it’s on the road against one of those bad, but capable teams. The Wolves can get it going, but as bad as they are defensively, the Thunder should score well and get enough stops to win by 10. That’s what SHOULD happen. Whether it will, well, I’m a little nervous.
Tip at 7:00 CT. Go OK.