By Anthony Slater – Aslater@opubco.com - @anthonyVslater
Oklahoma City put on an offensive show in Friday night’s 127-111 win over Minnesota. Here’s some rapid reaction:
An offense that can throw up triple-digits in 36 minutes of game action can often mask defensive deficiencies. And the Thunder certainly have their kinks to adjust (Minnesota averages 95.1 points per game and scored 111 on Friday). But the energy and offensive firepower erased any worries from the start. OKC scored 33 in the first, 33 in the second, 34 in the third and led 100-83 after three quarters. That’s right, 100 points in 36 minutes (the first time they’ve done that this year).
It was over when…
…Minnesota’s late push was playfully backhanded by OKC’s smooth and effortless offensive flow. The Timberwolves made a few runs, but none of them felt like legitimate threats. OKC scored at will and kept a comfortable double-digit cushion throughout.
Star of the game -Russell Westbrook
Just a nightmarish matchup for the Timberwolves at point guard. Ricky Rubio, Luke Ridnour and J.J. Barea are all quality NBA players, terrific ball-handlers and talented point guards. But none of the three can be confused for lockdown defenders. Especially against Westbrook. He’s too strong, quick and explosive. Plus, he’s intelligent and confident enough to recognize and continually exploit that mismatch. What did it equal? How about this Westbrook gem: 13/22 shooting, 37 points (season-high), 9 assists and 7 rebounds.
Typical night for him (27-7-7 on above 50% shooting). So instead of a paragraph-long soliloquy, let’s just look at a fun stat. With one dunk tonight, Durant now has 89 on the season. That’s eighth in the NBA. LeBron has 90. Click here for the full leaderboard.
Stats of note
-The Thunder finished 22/22 from the line
-OKC is now 18-1 at home against Western Conference teams this season. Only 5-3 against the East.
-Minnesota’s bench went 16/18 shooting in the first half, scoring 36 of the Timberwolves’ 58 points.
Bittersweet stat for Thunderheads
“Russell is an excellent, excellent basketball player. And he’s rounding into becoming a leader.” – NBA legend Magic Johnson on the postgame show
Kendrick Perkins with the isolation, dribble drive and inevitable turnover. The most entertaining set in the Thunder playbook:
Game two of the Thunder’s current three-game homestand comes Sunday against the Bulls. Game is on ESPN with a late tip (8:30 p.m.). Chicago is not expected to have Derrick Rose back.