MINNEAPOLIS — Roughly eight hours before tip-off, Kevin Durant provided a forecast for what would unfold Friday night between the Thunder and Timberwolves.
The way he saw it, one of two things was bound to happen.
“Ever since I got in the league, every game against the Wolves has been either a great game or a blowout,” Durant said at the Thunder's morning shootaround. “Either they blow us out, or we beat them pretty bad.”
Well, this one wasn't close, and it wasn't the Thunder that did the beating.
This time, Minnesota thumped the Thunder, taking it to OKC from start to finish and constructing a 34-point lead before cruising to a 100-81 win inside the Target Center. “They just kicked our (rear) tonight,” Durant said after the game.
Kendrick Perkins ranked the romp right up there as the worst he's been a part of as a member of the Thunder, adding that the thrashing was one the team won't want to sit through in the film room on Saturday.
As for what went wrong, the answer was pretty much everything.
The Thunder turned the ball over far too many times and in nearly every possible way, settled for jump shots all night and failed to muster anything in transition. And that was just the offensive side of the ball.
Defensively, the Thunder couldn't guard without fouling, couldn't keep the Wolves out of the paint, and couldn't cover the 3-point line.
“They beat us in a lot of areas of the game,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “We take pride in the defensive end, and we didn't establish our defensive intensity. We didn't have a defensive disposition tonight, and that's unacceptable.”
It was the Thunder's most lopsided loss since a 23-point rout at Orlando on Feb. 25, 2011, but it didn't go down as its worst defeat in this building. Back in January 2009, the Thunder's inaugural season, the Wolves laid a 42-point whipping on OKC.
Far more significant than the eyesore that was the final score was the way the Wolves game-planned and exposed the Thunder's offensive deficiencies. Taking advantage of Russell Westbrook's absence, the Wolves loaded their defense on Durant and played an old-fashioned game of “make someone else beat you.”