Thunder down TimberwolvesDec 27, 2011 - 5:37 AM Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - Kendrick Perkins grabbed a key rebound, drew a foul, and sunk two game-sealing free throws to lift the Thunder over the Timberwolves, 104-100, at Target Center.
With 1:30 to play, Thunder guard James Harden pump faked at the top of the key, drove to the basket and hit Perkins with beautiful pass on the baseline for a layup to give Oklahoma City a 100-98 lead. After a defensive stop, Russell Westbrook was fouled and sunk two key free throws to give the Thunder a four-point lead with 50 seconds left.
"It was a greart start for this team, this game is going to give us a lot of confidence," said Minnesota guard Jose Juan Barea. "If we play like that every night it will give us a chance to win every night."
The Timberwolves took a timeout before forward Kevin Love hit Derrick Williams with a pass as he was streaking to the basket. Williams slammed the ball through to cut the lead to just two.
After Westbrook missed a shot with 21 seconds left, Minnesota's Ricky Rubio found Michael Beasley, who drove to the basket and put up a shot that rattled around the rim before it was secured by Perkins. He hit two free throws to seal the Thunder's second straight win.
"I thought we played very well. Minnesota is a good team, they're much improved and they have an atmosphere that brings excitement and enthusiasm for a good team," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "This is a great offensive rebounding team (Minnesota) and we kept them off the boards. They are also a good shooting team and our close outs were good."
Kevin Durant led all scorers with 33 points -- the second straight game he scored 30 or more -- and Westbrook added 28 points and six assists. Harden finished with 16 points, six rebounds and three assists.
Beasley led Minnesota with 24 points, while Love recorded a double-double with 22 points and 12 rebounds. He also had five assists.
Rookie Derrick Williams scored thirteen and grabbed six boards and Jose Juan Barea added 14 points.
Rubio, a former Euro-League standout, finally made his NBA debut after being selected fifth overall in the 2009 NBA Draft. In over 26 minutes, he scored six points and dished out six assists.
The T'Wolves led 24-23 at the end of the first quarter but fell behind 53-46 at the break. They were able to tie the game with just over two minutes left in the final frame, but the seasoned Thunder proved to be too much for the inexperienced Minnesota squad.
The Thunder have defeated the T'Wolves 11 straight times...16 of Durant's 33 came in the second quarter...Darko Milicic scored 12 points for Minnesota...Rick Adelman made his coaching debut for the Timberwolves...There were 13 lead changes.
- OKLAHOMA CITY: 104
Dec 26 10:34 PM
- OKLAHOMA CITY: 52
Dec 26 9:16 PM
- OKLAHOMA CITY: 23
End of 1st
Dec 26 8:45 PM
- OKLAHOMA CITY: 0
1st Quarter - 12:00
Dec 26 8:14 PM
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