Minnesota Timberwolves (16-15, 6-10 road) vs. OKC Thunder (26-8, 17-3 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 113.0 (1st), Wolves– 103.6 (19th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 103.7 (9th), Wolves – 103.2 (7th)
Pace: Thunder – 92.4 (8th), Wolves – 92.2 (9th)
View from the enemy: A Wolf Among Wolves
Oh, boy here we go again. A team playing the Thunder without their best player. The Wolves don’t have Kevin Love who re-fractured his hand, which naturally means Derrick Williams is headed for a new career-high. Start preparing yourselves now.
Obviously, you’d expect a frustrated, angry and embarrassed Thunder team to just smite the Wolves tonight. But I’ve thought that before and it hasn’t exactly happened. The Wolves have taken down OKC once already this season and it seems to me when the Thunder try to hard, they often struggle. Bouncing back from the Wizards debacle is key, but really, it’s more about preventing another debacle. You can’t let the Wizards beat you twice.
Minnesota coming in: The Wolves beat Atlanta last night.
Three Little Things
1. J.J. Barea. Stop him.
2. J.J. Barea. Stop him.
3. J.J. Barea. Stop him.
(But seriously though, the biggest key in this game is going to be the Thunder defending the Wolves deadly Rubio-Pekovic pick-and-roll combo. Rubio is playing his first second game of a back-to-back tonight and looked utterly fantastic last night in Atlanta. Controlling him is the key, especially with the Wolves being without Love. He makes the other four players on the floor with him offensive weapons, so defending him and making sure he’s not zipping passes through your legs is important.)
Tip at 7:00 CT. Go Thunderers.