By Connor MacKenzie @grandepadre94
From Minnesota’s opening possession, which was a turnaround jumper by Wiggins as the shot clock buzzer sounded, Thunder fans knew this would be another battle between these two divisional rivals. Oklahoma City established the low post presence early with Adams, who finished with 20 points on 8-9 shooting with 12 rebounds.
Andrew Wiggins had a new season-high 40 points and 10 rebounds (16-18 FT) as the Timberwolves steal both road games in Oklahoma City this season, improving to a 20-21 record as the Thunder drop to 25-15. This is also the second loss in a row at home after getting waxed by Washington on Sunday.
The Thunder bench was outscored again 37-24.
The Thunder showed signs throughout the game of failing to block out Wolves players, and it came to light down the stretch off missed jumpers and free throws that led to more second-chance points for Minnesota. Terrance Ferguson found his stroke shooting 5-8 from the floor, 4-4 from 3, for 14 points. Both teams played with quick pace and put on a layup drill for stretches of the first quarter. The Thunder found themselves down 29-23 to end 1st.
Adams with huge 2nd quarter, leading the comeback from down by as much as 13 and eventually took the lead with less than a minute left, but gave up an easy basket and were tied at 64. Russell Westbrook continued his aggressive play by attacking the rim, distributing, and finding his rhythm 15-20 feet from the basket. Westbrook ended with 25 points on 11-22 shooting, 16 assists, and 5 rebounds.
A scary moment took place in the 3rd Quarter for Nerlens Noel as he contested an Andrew Wiggins dunk attempt. He goes up to block the shot but gets elbowed in the face and falls to the ground without collecting himself and hits his head on the floor as a result.
A scuffle between Minnesota’s guard Jeff Teague and OKC guard Dennis Schroder erupts, likely due to some of the T-Wolves roster laughing at Noel’s injury. Teams are separated and Teague is assessed a double technical, resulting in his ejection
The main issue more than anything tonight was simply foul trouble. 30 total team fouls and countless And1 opportunities that Minnesota cashed in. The Timberwolves shot 40 free throws compared to 26 for the Thunder it was a true classic battle between these two teams and came down to the last shot. Shortly after Westbrook knocks down 2 free throws to make it 117-115, Minnesota’s Tyus Jones gets called for traveling with 15.5 seconds left and the Thunder have a chance to win down 2. Westbrook got 2 shots for the win and came up short. Paul George nearly had a mid-air putback that also fell short as the buzzer sounded.
The Thunder face a surging Spurs team in San Antonio Thursday night, and then back at The Peake Saturday.