Last night, the Oklahoma City Thunder (2-3) lost for the second time in five days against the Minnesota Timberwolves (3-3). Again, the game was decided by only one possession: 119-116.
It was a close game, 31 lead changes, and 15 ties. The Thunder had the biggest lead in the second quarter with eleven points, before the officials, with what felt like some really questionable calls, put Minnesota back in the game. At the half, the score was tied 59-59.
In the second half, the script didn’t change until the last minute of the game. With a little bit more than a minute to go, Minnesota was able to gain a six points lead. Oklahoma City tried to recover the disadvantage, but Anthony’s shot to send the game into overtime bounced off the rim.
Thoughts and Stats
- I thought Oklahoma City started the game perfectly: it controlled the tempo, took smart shots, and played good defense. This, until the officials, started to call some very questionable fouls in favor of Minnesota late in the second quarter. It broke the Thunder’s momentum and put the home team back into the game. Like players can miss shots, also referees can miss calls, no doubt, but it felt like last night they were one-sided.
- The big three, plus Adams, played well. Each of them scored 20+ points (only the second time in Thunder history that four players scored 20+ points in a game together) but apparently, it wasn’t enough. The biggest issue was definitely the defensive end of the floor, specifically the struggle with rebounding the ball. The Thunder finished with only 35 total rebounds, while they gave up 17 offensive rebounds to the Timberwolves. Basically, Minnesota had a second chance to score on 40% of their missed shots. This is unacceptable for a team like Oklahoma City.
- I don’t have an issue with Anthony taking the last shot. Without timeouts left, the Thunder had 12 seconds to try to tie the game. Westbrook brought up the ball, handed it over to Anthony, and then he went to get it back, Anthony fake the handout pass though, drove to the right corner three, and shot. It wasn’t much contested, good look, it just didn’t go in.
- Andre Roberson played only 9 minutes last night while Josh Huestis played 15. After the game, Billy Donovan said that there weren’t any injuries that kept Roberson off the court. It was just a coaching decision, Donovan preferred Huestis’ length over Roberson’s.
- Felton played another solid game from the bench. He finished with 7 points (3-4 FG), 1 rebound, 1 assist, and 1 steal. He is a bulldog on defense, and he has the ability plus the experience to control the offense with the second unit. A pleasant surprise so far.
- The Thunder finished with 35 rebounds, 19 assists, 8 steals, and 14 turnovers
- Oklahoma City shot 50% from the floor, 28% from behind the arc, and 88% from the FT line.
The Thunder will play tonight in Chicago against the Bulls, tipoff 7 pm central time.
Feature photo: Getty Images