OKC Thunder (21-4, 7-2 road) at Minnesota Timberwolves (12-11, 7-3 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 113.7 (1st), Wolves– 103.4 (19th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 103.6 (10th), Wolves – 102.2 (8th)
Pace: Thunder – 92.0 (14th), Wolves – 92.0 (15th)
View from the enemy: A Wolf Among Wolves
UPDATE: Kevin Martin is out tonight with a thigh contusion.
I don’t think it’s fair to call this a “trap” game, because that makes it seem like the Timberwolves aren’t that good. It’s more of a dangerous, scary game. Second of a back-to-back, four days off coming after tonight, on the road, on TNT and against a young, hungry team looking to make a statement.
It has all the setup.
The Thunder historically play close games in Minnesota and with their team at full strength, finally, it’s the perfect storm for an upset.
But then again, this Thunder team seems to roll on despite those kind of feelings. I thought last night’s game in Atlanta would present a major challenge and while it was close, OKC was fairly dominant in the game. And the Thunder typically fare well in back-to-backs. (They’re 5-0 so far this season.)
Minnesota coming in: Last played Tuesday, losing in Miami to the Heat.
Three Big Things
1. Board games. Kevin Love dominates the glass. He owns it. And with Nikola Pekovic inside with him, the Wolves have real weapons to rebound and create second chances with. Serge Ibaka has been killing it on the glass lately, but it’ll take one of those team efforts with Westbrook and Durant getting involved to try and make it someone even.
2. AK-47. Andrei Kirilenko has always been a solid defender, but he has the physical make-up to challenge KD a bit. He’s tough, gritty, long and athletic. The Wolves have emerged as a top 10 defensive team this season, and done it without any real notable defenders to speak of. Except for Kirilenko, who probably has a whole lot to do with that.
3. Ru-bi-ohhhhh. I’m excited to watch him.
Tip at 6:00 CT. Go Thirteen.