Thunder snap 3-game skid, beat Minnesota 127-111

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 22, 2013 at 11:03 pm •  Published: February 22, 2013
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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — With All-Stars Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant leading the way, the Oklahoma City Thunder can outscore any team in the NBA on any given night.

That still isn't good enough for a team with the highest of aspirations.

Westbrook scored a season-high 37 points, Durant added 27 and Oklahoma City snapped a three-game losing streak Friday night with a 127-111 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves that did little to fix what was wrong during the skid.

"A baby, minor step" was how Westbrook described it.

"I think we could have (done) a better job defensively, but we got a win. That's all we needed this time after losing three games in a row," he said.

The Thunder avoided losing four in a row for the first time since April 2009, near the end of their first season in Oklahoma City, but were hardly better on defense after allowing 113.7 points per game during their longest losing streak of the season.

Instead, they relied on an offense that regained the NBA lead in scoring average while shooting 58 percent. It was the Thunder's second-best shooting performance of the season, behind only a 60.6 percent effort in a win at Brooklyn in December.

"That was good offensively. Offensively I don't think is our problem," said Westbrook, who had nine of Oklahoma City's 28 assists. "We've just got to find a way to continue to get stops."

Alexey Shved led Minnesota with 17 points, and Andrei Kirilenko and Dante Cunningham had 15 points apiece. The Timberwolves shot 53 percent in the first half but couldn't keep up that pace and wound up hitting on 43 percent after halftime.

Seven Timberwolves reached double figures in points, and leading scorer Nikola Pekovic wasn't one of them.

"Tonight we moved the ball better, we attacked better. I think we were a little more aggressive," said J.J. Barea, who had 12 of his 14 points in the first half.

"We just couldn't stop them."

Kevin Martin had 19 points off the bench for the Thunder, who went 9 for 14 from 3-point range and hit all 22 of their free throws. Oklahoma City came in first in the league in foul shooting and second in 3-point accuracy.

"We made a lot of shots and shot a good percentage," coach Scott Brooks said. "I'm not thrilled with our defense."

The Thunder doubled their lead by scoring the first six points of the second half and then used a couple more bursts during the third quarter to start opening the gap.

Kendrick Perkins hit a jumper in the lane to finish a string of seven straight Oklahoma City points, making it 87-70 midway through the third. Then, after an immediate 9-0 response by Minnesota, Westbrook had three buckets during an 8-0 flurry by Oklahoma City to push the lead right back to 16.

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