OKC Thunder: Timberwolves dominate Thunder

Nikola Pekovic scored 22 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to lead the Timberwolves to a 101-93 victory against the Thunder, which was trounced in just about every way.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: March 29, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS — Kendrick Perkins couldn't explain it.

No one could, really.

“They played well,” Perkins said, over and over, of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

And the Thunder didn't.

That's about what Friday's 101-93 loss inside the Target Center boiled down to for Oklahoma City.

“I don't think we did a great job of executing on either end of the floor,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “We have a level that we want to play every night and sometimes we don't get to that level. Tonight was a night that we didn't get to that level.”

Against a Wolves team with nothing left to play for outside of pride and the possibility of a few additional lottery balls, the Thunder got trounced, taken to the woodshed in just about every way.

Minnesota, despite missing injured star Kevin Love, still managed to manhandle OKC on the boards and score with relative ease inside the paint.

Wolves center Nikola Pekovic once again was a Lake Minnetonka-sized problem, scoring a team-high 22 points with a game-high 15 rebounds. He made 10 of 16 shots and corralled seven of Minnesota's 13 offensive rebounds, which led to 21 Wolves second-chance points.

“He played well,” Perkins said, again over and over, clearly unable to offer a better explanation. “He had a good night tonight. I mean, he had a good night.”

In his last three games against the Thunder, Pekovic averaged 21 points and 11.7 rebounds. On Friday, much like the previous two meetings, Pekovic caused all sorts of problems on post ups, rolls to the rim and hustle plays that led to putbacks.

“He was a handful for them,” said Minnesota coach Rick Adelman. “They really didn't have an answer for him. He took advantage of it.”

Pekovic exposed the Thunder's inconsistent defensive rebounding, a chronic issue since seemingly forever. In the last six contests the Thunder has allowed 13.8 offensive rebounds. For comparison purposes, Milwaukee ranks last in the category at 12.5 per game. The Thunder entered Friday tied for the third-worst rate, allowing 12 on average.

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by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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