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OKC Thunder tops short-handed Minnesota

Five Thunder players score in double figures, led by Kevin Durant's 26 points.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: February 5, 2014

It was only a matter of time.

That much we figured.

What we didn't expect was for it to take as long as it did.

But with Minnesota missing its best two players, the Timberwolves were no match for the Thunder on Wednesday night, and Oklahoma City ultimately overwhelmed them with a 106-97 win inside Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Kevin Durant led all scorers and five Thunder players in double figures with 26 points to go with nine rebounds and seven assists. Reggie Jackson added 20 points and a career-high nine assists, and the Thunder became the first team this season to reach 40 wins.

Minnesota was without starting center and third-leading scorer Nikola Pekovic, who missed his fifth straight game because of an ankle injury, and All-Star forward Kevin Love, who suffered a hard fall in Minnesota's 10-point home win over the Los Angeles Lakers one night earlier.

Without them, the Wolves had to make due without an average of 43.6 points, or 41 percent of their offense, and 22.3 rebounds, or 48 percent of their production in that department.

Making matters worse, starting small forward Corey Brewer, the Wolves' defensive ace, also did not travel with the team after the birth of his son.

But Minnesota did a surprisingly good job of competing, hanging with the Thunder for three quarters before the Thunder used a 13-4 run at the start the fourth period to pull away.

Prior to that spurt, OKC never led by more than seven and spent the second and third periods staring at a margin that swung between a six-point deficit and a tenuous four-point advantage.

“We knew that they were going to play hard,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “When you have a wounded team that gives them a chance to play guys that haven't played a lot of big minutes. And everybody in this league is good. There are no bad players. There are players that are developing to become better players. But there are no bad players. Everybody can play in this league.”

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by Darnell Mayberry
Assist Editor/ NBA Coordinator
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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