Westbrook helps Thunder snap skidFeb 23, 2013 - 5:55 AM Oklahoma City Thunder got back on track with a 127-111 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Westbrook made good on 13-of-22 field goal attempts to go along with nine assists and seven rebounds in a terrific all-around display that helped the Northwest Division leaders halt a season-long three-game losing streak. Kevin Martin contributed 19 points off the bench for the Thunder, who shot a sharp 57.8 percent from the floor and finished a perfect 22-of-22 from the foul line.
Alexey Shved paced seven Minnesota players in double figures with 17 points, but the Timberwolves failed to build off Wednesday's home win over Philadelphia in their first outing after the All-Star break.
Andrei Kirilenko and Dante Cunningham each registered 15 points in defeat, with Ricky Rubio compiling 13 points and nine assists for Minnesota.
Westbrook made his presence felt right from the start, with the All-Star point guard dropping in 11 points during an opening quarter in which the Thunder built a 33-23 lead at period's end.
"We let him (have) a lot of room to maneuver," Timberwolves head coach Rick Adelman said of Westbrook. "He's just too quick and too strong to give him room to go at the basket."
Oklahoma City was ahead by as many as 13 in the second frame, but a 12-4 surge fueled mainly by Minnesota's reserves brought the Timberwolves within 57-54 three minutes prior to intermission.
Oklahoma City regrouped before the half would end, though, and went into the locker room owning a 66-58 edge after Westbrook was fouled by Luke Ridnour on a 3-point try at the buzzer and sunk all three bonus attempts.
The Thunder continued to control the action after the break, scoring the first six points of the third quarter to jump out to a 72-58 lead.
Minnesota put forth a mild rally later in the session, with Kirilenko netting five points during a 9-0 burst culminating with a Rubio layup that narrowed the gap to 87-79 with three minutes to go in the quarter.
That would be as close as the Wolves would come, however. Westbrook scored on back-to-back possession to ignite an 11-2 sequence that essentially put the game out of reach. Martin capped the pivotal run with a long-distance jumper with 55 seconds left in the third quarter, with the basket staking Oklahoma City to a comfortable 98-81 advantage.
It would remain a double-digit margin until Ridnour hit two free throws just under the two-minute mark to make the score 120-111 in the Thunder's favor. Oklahoma City then recorded the final seven points to end any comeback hopes.
"We were able to get some stops and make those guys shoot over hands. We put pressure on them on the offensive end," Durant said.
Westbrook's previous season best was 36 points, first set in a 102-90 win at Phoenix on Jan. 14 ... Thunder center Kendrick Perkins returned to the lineup after missing Wednesday's loss at Houston with a sprained right knee, managing 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting along with seven rebounds in 25 minutes ... Oklahoma City has now won 14 of the last 15 matchups in the series and posted its 17th consecutive victory at home against Western Conference opponents ... The Thunder improved to 19-1 this season when shooting 50 percent or better ... The Timberwolves have lost nine of their last 10 road tilts.
- MINNESOTA: 111
OKLAHOMA CITY: 127
Feb 22 10:33 PM
- MINNESOTA: 83
OKLAHOMA CITY: 100
End of 3rd
Feb 22 9:53 PM
- MINNESOTA: 58
OKLAHOMA CITY: 66
Feb 22 9:12 PM
- MINNESOTA: 23
OKLAHOMA CITY: 33
End of 1st
Feb 22 8:37 PM
- MINNESOTA: 0
OKLAHOMA CITY: 0
1st Quarter - 11:37
Feb 22 8:11 PM
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