The Thunder came into tonight’s game with the Minnesota Timberwolves riding some momentum from their big 120-108 win against the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday and looked to carry that momentum going into their upcoming matchup with the San Antonio Spurs tomorrow night.
That momentum came to a screeching halt as the Thunder lose in stunning fashion to the Timberwolves, 99-96.
Ricky Rubio’s 3-pointer with 0.2 seconds left on the clock was the nail in the coffin for the Thunder after yet another 4th quarter lead collapse. And yet again, the Thunder do not handle business on the defensive side of the ball. The Thunder allowed the Timberwolves to shoot 48 percent from the field and score 30 points in the 4th quarter. The odd tendency for the Thunder at home is to give some below average player a career high in points. Well this time they did it again. This time to………Gorgui Dieng?!?! Yes, Gorgui Dieng. A three year pro out of Louisville who averages 9 points and 7 rebounds a game this season. The Thunder let Gorgui Dieng score a career high 25 points with 10 of those points coming from the 4th quarter. One of the biggest contributors to the Thunder’s inconsistency has been their bugaboo which is turnovers. The Thunder gave up a season-high 24 turnovers to the Timberwolves which lead to 26 points.
Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant combined for 54 points while Enes Kanter contributed a double-double off the bench with 17 points and 14 rebounds. Thunder fans have to be wondering, how in the world did the Thunder only score 96 points to the Timberwolves who are the 24th ranked team in points given up per game? Two things: Serge Ibaka and the bench. Serge Ibaka was an absolute non factor for the Thunder. Serge put up a goose egg in points going 0 for 4 from the field with 2 rebounds and ended up fouling out in only 20 minutes of play. For the Thunder to have any kind of success the rest of this season, they can’t have Serge be that anemic. Besides Enes Kanter’s contributions from the bench with 17 points, the Thunder bench was 5 of 23 from the field (21%). All of these things lead to a much better Thunder team letting a mediocre 21-45 Timberwolves team hang around in the 4th quarter and end up stealing the game on the road.
This certainly was a hard pill for Thunder fans to swallow with the dramatic finish and end result, another loss at home to a bad team. This game certainly puts a damper for the Thunder going into their matchup with the San Antonio Spurs tomorrow night at 7:30pm. Here’s hoping the Thunder can find a way to get a win against the Spurs who are undefeated at home this season at 31-0. Is it St. Patrick’s Day yet? The Thunder will certainly need some luck.