OKC Thunder vs. Minnesota Timberwolves: Live Analysis, Score Updates, Highlights
The Oklahoma City Thunder's 12-game winning streak was snapped on Thursday evening as they fell to the Minnesota Timberwolves by a score of 99-93.
The Thunder were able to keep the game close thanks to 33 points from Kevin Durant and another 30 from Russell Westbrook, but the Timberwolves' combination of power and agility was too much for Scott Brooks' squad to overcome.
Kevin Love led the Timberwolves with 28 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists, while center Nikola Pekovic contributed 24 points and 10 rebounds.
A surprise contributor was rookie guard Alexey Shved, whose role has grown larger with Ricky Rubio being eased back in coming off of a knee injury. Shved posted a complete line, totaling 12 points, 12 assists and six rebounds.
With the win the Timberwolves improve to 13-11 on the season, while the Thunder fall to 21-5.
Keep it locked here on Bleacher Report throughout the night for continuing coverage of all things Thunder-Timberwolves.
Final Box Scores, courtesy of NBA.com.
Minnesota Plus/Minus Numbers
Kevin Love: +2
Andrei Kirilenko: +9
Nikola Pekovic: +12
Alexey Shved: +6
Luke Ridnour: +11
Dante Cunningham: -3
Ricky Rubio: 0
Greg Stiemsma: -1
Derrick Williams: -3
J.J. Barea: -3
Oklahoma City Plus/Minus Numbers:
Serge Ibaka: -7
Kevin Durant: -7
Kendrick Perkins: -4
Russell Westbrook: -6
Thabo Sefolosha: -6
Nick Collison: -2
Eric Maynor: +1
Reggie Jackson: +1
Hasheem Thabeet: 0
Minnesota 99, OKC 93 - Final
The Timberwolves take this one behind a combined 52 points from Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic, with love contributing a team-high 28 points.
Love also corralled 11 rebounds and seven assists, while rookie Alexey Shved had a superb night, totaling 12 points, 12 assists and six rebounds in 33 minutes of work.
Kevin Durant led the Thunder with 33 points while Russell Westbrook added 30 of his own, although he was hardly efficient, converting on just 9-of-28 shots.
Westbrook also turned the ball over eight times, which did not compare favorably to the nine dimes he distributed.
Minnesota 97, OKC 93, 12.2 seconds remaining in Q4: Russell Westbrook knocks down a pair of free-throws and the Thunder simply won't go away.
Check out the difference in efficiency between Westbrook and Durant tonight:
Durant: 33 points on 12-of-12 shooting
Westbrook: 30 points on 9-of-27 shooting
Minnesota 97, OKC 91 - 48.9 seconds remaining in Q4: Kevin Durant knocks down two freebies to cut the Minnesota lead to six.
The Timberwolves would be wise to play defense with their feet here and not with their hands, because sending Durant to the line isn't helping.
Wolves need one stop.— Zach Harper (@talkhoops) December 21, 2012
Minnesota 97, OKC 87 - 1:58 remaining in Q4: Kevin Love grabs a huge offensive rebound (he's got 11 total on the night) and knocks down two free-throws to give the Timberwolves a 10 point lead.
Love also has a team-high 28 points.
Minnesota 96, OKC 87 - 2:24 remaining in Q4: Kevin Durant picks up his fifth foul and a technical to boot, and that would appear to be your ball game.
Durant has a right to be upset too, because J.J. Barea pulled out all of the stops to flop in order to take a charge on that one.
Some fourth quarter for Barea.
Not only will Barea get fined for that, but the ref that fell for that flop should be fined. Completely pathetic officiating.— Royce Young (@dailythunder) December 21, 2012
Minnesota 92, OKC 81 - 3:57 remaining in Q4: Russell Westbrook is trying to win this one on his own, and it's not going well.
The Thunder point guard has practically phased Kevin Durant out of the offense, a bad idea considering he's made just 8-of-25 attempts from the field.
Westbrook now 8/25 but closing in on a quadruple double (23 pts, 9 asst, 8 rebs, 9 TOs)— Jerry Zgoda(@JerryZgoda) December 21, 2012
Minnesota 92, OKC 81 - 5:20 remaining in Q4: J.J. Barea hits from Siberia as the shot clock winds down, and the Minnesota lead stretches to double-digits. That's three triples for Barea in this one.
Minnesota 89, OKC 79 - 6:25 remaining in Q4: Reminder: The Thunder's 12 game winning streak is on the line in this one.
Not only have Thunder won last 12 overall ... also have won last 12 meetings vs Wolves ... trail by 11 with 6:52 to play— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 21, 2012
Minnesota 88, OKC 77 - 6:52 remaining in Q4: Barea for three again! How loaded is this Timberwolves backcourt?
Minnesota 83, OKC 77 - 8:09 remaining in Q4: J.J. Barea, yet another one of those talented Timberwolve point guards, knocks down a big three as the shot clock expires.
On the other end it looks like Russell Westbrook is trying to do too much, which is a surprise to absolutely no one. He's 8-of-23 shooting on the night.
JOS3 JUAN BAR3A!!!— Dime Smash! (@DimeSmash) December 21, 2012
Minnesota 80, OKC 75 - 8:56 remaining in Q4: The Timberwolves are holding it together without Love in there, but Ricky Rubio's presence may actually be hurting his team at this point.
If OKC can tie this one up or take the lead, Shved should come back in for Rubio, because the offense doesn't have the same flow without him in there.
Ricky is really struggling. Looks like the entire Wolves team just waits for him to do stuff when he's on offense.— Noam Schiller (@noamschiller) December 21, 2012
Minnesota 76, OKC 73 - 11:00 remaining in Q4: And now the Thunder have made this a one possession game. Kevin Durant looks positively locked in, so this one should get quite entertaining down the stretch. Give him 25 points.
Minnesota 76, OKC 69 - End Q3: At the end of three the Timberwolves lead by seven, led by Pekovic and Love, who have combined for 47 points and 16 rebounds.
Alexey Shved has been particularly impressive, totaling 12 points, 12 assists and five rebounds thus far.
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook have turned it up, combining for 44 points through three. Serge Ibaka was able to net just two points in the game's third quarter, but has three blocks.
Westbrook also has eight turnovers to eight assists.
Kevin Durant has 23 points. He had 23 through three quarters last night, too, and he finished with 41. Seems needed if OKC is to win this.— Darnell Mayberry (@DarnellMayberry) December 21, 2012
Minnesota 74, OKC 67 - 1:00 remaining in Q3: The Timberwolves continue to roll on the offensive end but Ricky Rubio just doesn't appear to have the same explosiveness he did prior to tearing his ACL.
It will obviously take some time for Rubio to recover, and it may not be until next season that the Spanish point guard regains his superstar form.
Minnesota 70, OKC 65 - 3:00 remaining in Q3: Also, here is the replay of Kevin Durant giving a whole new meaning to the term "shooter's roll" with this and-one bucket.
Video: Kevin Durant makes insane and-1 off the top of the backboard: youtu.be/ZXHMIpQnBA0— Royce Young (@dailythunder) December 21, 2012
Minnesota 70, OKC 65 - 3:00 remaining in Q3: It's on. Durant and Westbrook have turned it up but the Timberwolves continue to answer on the other end.
The 'Wolves' offense has so much movement that the Thunder are getting confused on switches, leaving their big men with mismatches or wide open looks under the basket.
KIRILENGTHO ALLEY-OOP SMASH FROM SHVED!!!— Dime Smash! (@DimeSmash) December 21, 2012
Minnesota 68, OKC 61 - 4:03 remaining in Q3: The Timberwolves have held the lead all night long, but they've also given away close to 10 points in the restricted area thanks to misses from Pekovic, Love and Kirilenko.
Nobody can make layups.— Noam Schiller (@noamschiller) December 21, 2012
Minnesota 68, OKC 56 - 5:30 remaining in Q3: Pekovic and Love continue to hammer the OKC defense, one that has looked particularly porous tonight.
However, none of this would be possible without the court vision and distribution of Alexey Shved.
10 pts, 11 dimes for Shved, who is looking rejuvenated after a day off.— Jon Krawczynski (@APkrawczynski) December 21, 2012
Minnesota 59, OKC 54 - 7:46 remaining in Q3: And right on cue Westbrook and Durant hit back-to-back threes, cutting the Minnesota lead to five.
You almost get the feeling that the Thunder's big pairing has been waiting for the second half to turn it up, because the T'Wolves' defense simply hasn't been that good.
Durant is awake.— Noam Schiller (@noamschiller) December 21, 2012
Minnesota 57, OKC 46 - 9:10 remaining in Q3: Russell Westbrook's struggles continue as he just doesn't appear to have the same pep in his step that he did last night in Atlanta.
The Thunder point man is 3-of-12 from the floor (6-of-8 from the line) and has 12 points.
Minnesota Plus/Minus Numbers:
Kevin Love: +10
Andrei Kirilenko: +12
Nikola Pekovic: +9
Alexey Shved: +13
Luke Ridnour: +13
Dante Cunningham: 0
Derrick Williams: -3
Greg Stiemsma: -1
J.J. Barea: -4
Ricky Rubio: -4
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