Dec 15, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves guard Alexey Shved (right) and guard Jose Juan Barea (left) against the Dallas Mavericks at the Target Center. The Wolves defeated the Mavericks 114-106 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

GameNotes: Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

Quarter 1

  • Minnesota will continue this tough stretch by taking on a thriving Thunder team on their second consecutive primetime game.
  • In case you haven’t heard, Minnesota has waived Josh Howard due to him tearing an ACL. There’s got to be some sort of curse this year on our injuries woes. Things aren’t looking to good for the injured Malcolm Lee as he has been diagnosed for a chronic knee condition.
  • In good news, Brandon Roy has continued to progress very quickly from his knee surgery. Look for him return sometime soon.
  • Durant vs. Kirilenko will be fascinating to watch just because of the sheer length of the two players.
  • Love’s struggles are finally being brought up by announcers. Too often, the national audience believes that Love has been single-handedly carrying this team.
  • Target Center is packed and buzzing for this big time game.
  • Ridnour is going to get blown apart by Westbrook tonight. Already a poor defender, the smaller Ridnour is lesser in every way.
  • Kevin Love’s passing has really improved these last couple games. A couple of bullet passes to Pekovic have really stretched out Oklahoma City.
  • For some reason, Minnesota has always played OKC very tough. Granted they rarely win, but it produces an entertaining game for the fans.
  • Love coming out hot as Minnesota jumps out to a 18-7 lead.
  • Shved pulling out some very Rubio-esque games.
  • Pek should be killing OKC’s bigs, but he keeps missing easy bunnies. Could have at least 4 more points if he just dunked the ball.
  • Everything going the Wolves way as they run up the score to 25-11 in their favor.
  • Perry Jones, Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb have the most enviable situation for young players. Playing behind Durant and Westbrook while just focusing on skill improvement will really help them out.
  • Thabeet looks he’s playing in a high school game when he lines up against Cunningham. His 7-3 frame just makes an instant force from size alone.

Quarter 2

  • Kirilenko’s length already starting to frustrate Durant. He’s picked up 2 quick fouls and only has had a few good looks.
  • Wolves defense continues to be underrated as they currently lead the Thunder 32-18.
  • Derrick Williams sighting! Unfortunately, he proceeds to miss two free throws off a beautiful pass from JJ Barea.
  • Wolves bench unit will try to contain Westbrook and Durant.
  • Cunningham has really been struggling these last few games. While he’s been solid on defense, the midrange shot has really not been falling for him.
  • Surprising stat about Westbrook, has yet to miss a game in his basketball career, including high school, college and the NBA.
  • Rubio just tweaked his leg a little bit after coming down a bit awkwardly.
  • OKC methodically coming back 42-35 on a 6-0 run.
  • Pekovic is starting to heat up as the Wolves are attempting to collectively spoon feed him.
  • AK missing the easy fast break lay up has really started some serious questioning of his finishing ability. He’s usually quite reliable but he’s been blowing inside finishes in the last couple games.
  • Durant makes every single jumper look like he’s playing by himself. Even though Kirilenko is contesting him perfectly, his midrange jumper is just perfect. There’s simply no way to stop that jump unless you have his combination of length and quickness.
  • The ball movement by Minnesota is outstanding tonight. Very reminiscent of the old Sacramento and Portland teams. Even K-Love is getting in on the act.

Quarter 3

  •  Ibaka is going to be a very scary player in a few years. As he enters his prime, he will most likely end up being a stretch 4 with outstanding athleticism. Considering the success that these type of offensive players have in the NBA (Kevin Love, Ryan Anderson).
  • With arguably the best passing performance of his career, Kevin Love already has 6 assists to contribute to Minnesota’s 20 assists. Combine that with only 5 turnovers and you have the reason for Minnesota’s lead.
  • Pekovic getting a lot of national attention after his strong half against the Thunder. He continues his strong start by drawing a foul against Perkins.
  • Thunder’s cold shooting should really be a cue for Minnesota to start stretching out their lead. It’s only a matter of time before they start heating up.
  • Two quick 3 pointers by the Thunder, the score is 59-54 in favor of Minnesota.
  • Kirilenko quickly putting in two baskets to help stretch out the lead a bit.
  • Shved’s passing has really gone unnoticed today. With all the attention given to Rubio, he’s really stepped up his game tonight.
  • Westbrook and Durant starting to heat up as they narrow the lead to 5 points. Some of the plays that those two make are mind boggling.
  • Shved’s stat line is pretty crazy right now: 10 points, 5 rebounds, 12 assists. All of this with 0 Turnovers.
  • OKC’s quick strike fast break offense is really hurting Minnesota. The two bigs down low for Minny will hamper their ability to get back quickly.
  • The quarter ends with the Wolves up 76-69. Westbrook not helping out his team with 7 turnovers.

Quarter 4

  • Wolves are one of the worst teams at closing. With more and more of their stars coming back every day, this number should change.
  • Rubio is on track for his minute quota. It remains to be seen if these Adelman is willing to stretch him out today.
  • The lead is now down to 3 but the Wolves are starting to counter again. This is all a matter of getting as big of a lead until the two stars for OKC start going crazy.
  • Pekovic comes back in for Love. Adelman has the rotation timed out perfectly. As the game closes out, he will put back Love in for Cunningham and have a JJ, Shved and Ridnour lineup.
  • Minnesota is one of the few teams that can trot out an all-International lineup.
  • JJ Barea is really torching OKC as he single handedly is bringing up the lead to 11, 88-77.
  • Westbrook’s degree of difficulty shots might only be rivaled by Monta Ellis. That being said, he gets a surprising amount of them to go in.
  • Durant taking it upon himself to carry his team back into it.
  • Shved taking Ridnour’s spot as one of the two closing guards. Looks like Barea will stay in with him.
  • Ibaka is single handedly preventing the Wolves from scoring on the inside. The series he’s having right now is pretty crazy.
  • JJ picking his standard flop/charge against Durant driving to the hoop. Durant then proceeded to pick up a technical while the crowd goes crazy. It’s good to be a Wolves fan.
  • Minnesota has gone on a 16-10 run to stretch the score to 97-87.
  • Love just took a really hard shot to the eyes that looked awfully painful.
  • Kirilenko fouled out after playing really tough defense on Durant.
  • Game getting a bit tight after some empty trips and turnovers for Minnesota.
  • Love has somehow managed to get 3 blocks today. His latest one might have sealed the deal on OKC tonight.
  • Good win by Minnesota tonight. This stopped a 12 game losing streak to the Thunder.

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