Thunder (53-19, 21-14 road) at Wolves (25-45, 16-18 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 112.3 (2nd), Wolves– 102.6 (24th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 102.4 (4th), Wolves – 105.4 (12th)
Pace: Thunder – 93.7 (8th), Wolves – 92.6 (11th)
View from the enemy: A Wolf Among Wolves
The last time the Thunder played in Minnesota, they lost a disappointing TNT game as the Wolves got hot from outside, Nikola Pekovic chewed up OKC’s bigs and J.J. Barea put on one of his patented destroy-the-Thunder lightshows.
Things are different this time around for the Wolves as they don’t have Kevin Love and are still a little banged up all over. Still, nothing can be taken for granted and the Wolves have proven they’re still willing compete. Ricky Rubio is always dangerous and if they can make even a few outside shots, they become tough to defend.
Minnesota coming in: Lost, controversially, to the Lakers on Wednesday.
Three Big Things
1. Pek and Perk. Kendrick Perkins completely dominated Nikola Pekovic in the last meeting in OKC, meaning Pekovic is likely looking forward to some revenge. When he’s effective in Minnesota’s pick-and-roll game he opens up a lot for Rubio and creates problems in help defense. Perk will defend him one-on-one, which is a luxury that OKC has and most teams don’t.
2. We want the D. Thunder defense has been especially strong as of late and while the Wolves aren’t a good offensive team, they can break you down. OKC’s play on the defensive end has become a little more consistent, but it’s time to take that on the road too.
3. Barea. I fully anticipate him scoring 82 tonight. I’m mentally prepping right now.
Tip at 7:00 CT. Go D.