Oklahoma City Thunder at Minnesota Timberwolves Preview
The Oklahoma City Thunder could use a win on the road tonight to try to separate themselves from the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference standings, but they’ll have to do it without one of their two MVP candidates as Paul George remains out. They’ll travel to Minneapolis tonight to face off against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Thunder are currently tied with the Blazers for third in the Western Conference with a 39-24 record. They are 5-5 in their last 10 games and won their most recent game. Minnesota is currently 11th in the West with a 29-34 record. They are 4-6 in their last 10 games and they come into tonight’s game on a three-game skid.
In their last matchup on January 8, the Timberwolves won 119-117, mostly due to a big 40 point, 10 rebounds night by Andrew Wiggins, while Paul George scored 27 and Russell Westbrook dished 16 assists for the Thunder.
Time: 8:00pm ET
Arena: Target Center, Minneapolis, MN
Channel: FSOK, FSNTH
Oklahoma City Thunder Starting Lineup
The Thunder have struggled lately, and some of that is due to Paul George being sidelined. Before they won their most recent game against Memphis, the Thunder had lost four straight to the Sacramento Kings, Denver Nuggets, Philadelphia 76ers and San Antonio Spurs. Granted, that is a tough stretch of games, but it was a roadblock for a team that looked like they were one of the top teams in the league heading into the All-Star break.
In their 99-95 win over the Memphis Grizzlies, the Thunder leaned on Russell Westbrook and Dennis Schroeder for offense. Westbrook had 22 points, six rebounds and five assists and Schroeder had 17 points and 12 rebounds.
Westbrook was especially clutch in the last moments of the game as he carried the Thunder to the win.
“That’s what makes him the player he is,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “The guys that have high-level talent, what separates them to me is how they handle adversity, both personally and collectively as a team.”
Abdul Nader also had a big night off the bench with some additional playing time, scoring 15 points in the win.
Minnesota Timberwolves Starting Lineup
The Minnesota Timberwolves’ three-game losing streak has done nothing for their playoff chances. They are six games behind the number eight San Antonio Spurs. With 19 games left on the schedule, that doesn’t leave a large margin for error, and with the Thunder coming to town, they will have their hands full, even without Paul George.
The Timberwolves’ coaches and players are likely glad to be returning home after a rough road trip.
“It’s hard to win in the NBA. It’s even harder to win on the road,” Timberwolves coach Ryan Saunders said. “It’s even harder to win on the road in the NBA when your defensive intensity is not there. It hasn’t been there in these three games here.”
The Timberwolves gave up over 129 points per game on their recent losing streak to the Atlanta Hawks, Indiana Pacers, and Washington Wizards. They gave up even more points in their 121-135 loss to the Wizards on Sunday. Washington put the pressure on early with a 40-point first quarter and then they closed it out with 38 in the fourth. They also allowed seven Wizards players to score in double figures.
Karl-Anthony Towns led the Wolves with 29 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists and Derrick Rose came off the bench for 18 points. In the game, Minnesota proved that they can get it done on the offensive end, but they’ll have to stop teams on the other end to start putting together some wins.
Oklahoma City Thunder at Minnesota Timberwolves Betting Odds
The Minnesota Timberwolves are the 1-point favorite to win tonight’s game at home, where they are 20-10 this season. Minnesota is 19-13 as the favorite, whole OKC is 17-14 on the road and 7-6 as the underdog.
The over/under is 236 points and the Timberwolves are -120 on the moneyline.
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