Westbrook outduels Love, Thunder outlast T-Wolves in double OTMar 24, 2012 - 5:43 AM
Kevin Durant added 40 points, including a couple of big three-pointers late in regulation and in the first overtime, and pulled down 17 rebounds in Oklahoma City's second straight win.
James Harden contributed 25 points, six rebounds and six assists in the victory, the Thunder's 11th straight over the T-Wolves.
Kevin Love netted a career-high and franchise-record 51 points to go along with 14 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who lost for the fifth time in six games. J.J. Barea finished with 25 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds to record Minnesota's first triple-double since 2007.
"Doesn't matter now with the loss. We needed this game," said Love about his career game.
Minnesota entered the fourth quarter trailing, 94-88, but could not manage to close the gap any closer than three points over the first nine-plus minutes of the frame until a 5-0 spurt made it 108-106 with 2:42 left in regulation.
After the teams traded baskets over the next two possessions, Westbrook's three-pointer gave the Thunder a 113-108 edge. Love then made the front end of two free throws before converting on a tip-in to bring Minnesota within two.
Newly acquired guard Derek Fisher missed an open corner three-pointer on the other end, and after Luke Ridnour's long two-pointer rimmed out, Westbrook tried to save the rebound from going out of bounds, but he tossed the ball right to Barea and his layup knotted the game at 113 with 27.9 seconds left.
On the ensuing possession, Durant set up at the top of the key and faked to his right before stepping left and drilling a trey for a 116-113 advantage with 3.9 ticks remaining on the clock.
But coming out of a timeout, Love grabbed the inbounds pass at the left wing and immediately threw up a three-pointer that hit nothing but net with 1.0 showing to force overtime.
An early Love triple in the first extra frame put the Timberwolves up, 120-116, before consecutive layups by Durant and Fisher tied the game again.
It remained a one-possession game over the next two minutes until Anthony Tolliver followed his three-point play with a fastbreak dunk off a Durant missed trey to put Minnesota ahead, 129-124, with 46.3 seconds left in OT.
However, Westbrook quickly connected on a contested jumper in the lane on the Thunder's next touch and following a Love turnover on a traveling call, Durant dropped in an open three from the right corner with 10.1 seconds left to tie the score at 129.
Barea had a chance for the game-winner coming out of a timeout, but his three- pointer from the left wing rimmed out to force the second overtime period.
That frame belonged to Westbrook as he opened the period with a three-point play and soon after dropped in a driving layup to bookend a 7-2 spurt by Oklahoma City to take a 136-131 advantage.
Minnesota battled back to make it a 140-138 game on Barea's layup with 2:24 left, but that is as close as they would get.
Fisher's missed jumper on the ensuing possession gave the Timberwolves a chance to tie the game again, but Love's attempted layup was blocked by Nick Collison, leading to a Durant fadeway jumper and Minnesota would not make another basket until Barea's floater in the closing seconds as the Thunder pulled away for the win.
"I'm sure the fans and players enjoyed this one more than me," Thunder head coach Scott Brooks said. "Our team never gives up but we never could figure them out, and Love had a big game against all our guys."
Earlier in the game, after a Durant jumper gave the Thunder a 6-4 lead, Love connected on three straight three-pointers in a personal 11-2 run to put the Timberwolves ahead, 15-8.
Oklahoma City, though, responded with an 18-7 swing to retake the lead. Westbrook recorded nine points in the spurt, which included Harden's go-ahead three-pointer and was capped by Durant's alley-oop dunk to put the Thunder ahead, 26-23, with two minutes left in the first.
The Thunder held a 30-29 advantage entering the second quarter and opened the frame with a 17-5 run to stretch their lead up to 47-34, but Minnesota responded with an 18-8 push to close the gap to three, 55-52, with just under three minutes remaining in the half.
Oklahoma City managed to extend its lead back up to seven before Minnesota recorded the final five points of the half to make it 63-61 at the break.
The Timberwolves managed to stay within two possession over the opening three minutes of the third quarter until eight straight points by the Thunder gave them a 75-65 advantage.
Minnesota followed the run with four straight points to stay within striking distance, but the Timberwolves were kept at arm's length for the rest of the third quarter and trailed, 94-88, entering the fourth.
Kevin Garnett previously held the Timberwolves' franchise record in points with 47 on January 4, 2005...Minnesota fell to 11-14 on the road this season...Oklahoma City improved to 21-4 at home... Tolliver had 23 points for the Timberwolves, while Collison finished with 11 for the Thunder...Oklahoma City outscored Minnesota in the paint, 74-56, and held a 50-43 advantage on the glass.
- MINNESOTA: 140
OKLAHOMA CITY: 149
Final - 2OT
Mar 23 10:58 PM
- MINNESOTA: 129
OKLAHOMA CITY: 129
End of OT
Mar 23 10:43 PM
- MINNESOTA: 116
OKLAHOMA CITY: 116
End of Regulation
Mar 23 10:22 PM
- MINNESOTA: 61
OKLAHOMA CITY: 63
Mar 23 9:01 PM
- MINNESOTA: 29
OKLAHOMA CITY: 30
End of 1st
Mar 23 8:35 PM
- MINNESOTA: 0
OKLAHOMA CITY: 0
1st Quarter - 11:59
Mar 23 8:13 PM
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