The Minnesota Timberwolves lost at home against Oklahoma City Thunder (OKC) por 103-112 in a game that once again showed the inconsistency of the Minneapolis team and in which the Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio got his third double-double of the season with 11 points and 11 assists.
The most prominent player of the game was Wolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (KAT), who also had a double-double with 33 points, 10 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 block while Thunder point guard Shai Gilgeous -Alexander, scored 31 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 blocks. The other Spaniard from the Wolves, Juancho Hernangómez, scored 5 points and 4 rebounds after 14.5 minutes on the court.
Five Thunder players finished the game with 10 or more points. But the difference between the two teams was the shooting percentages of three. While OKC scored 56.8% of the 37 3-pointers they tried, 21 baskets, the Wolves had to be content with 35.9% of 39 attempts, 14 baskets of three.
The game started well for the Timberwolves, who had an 8-point lead in the first minutes of the game thanks to the success of Rubio and Towns, but the Thunder responded with a 2-12 partial thanks to the plays of Gilgeous- Alexander, unstoppable all night, and Aleksej Pokusevski, the Serbian power forward of 2.13 meters who on Monday night showed his versatility.
The Thunder, with Pokusevski and Moses Brown (2.18 meters) on the court, helped by Isaiah Roby (2.03 meters), made life very difficult for the Wolves’ inside game, who have not had their best two for weeks range shooters, Malik Beasley and D’Angelo Russell. And the great promise of Minnesotans, Anthony Edwards, the No. 1 in the 2020 draft, was unable to make a single basket in the first 12 minutes.
The first quarter ended with a tight 22-25 for OKC. The second quarter repeated the same pattern. The Wolves started the period with force, Edwards woke up from his lethargy and the Minnesotans managed to always be close to the Thunder on the scoreboard until 1.50 minutes before the break, a Rubio layup allowed them to tie the game 50-50. But the Timberwolves again suffered another puncture of the kind they usually have in the final parts of the quarters and They went to the locker room with a 50-57 on the scoreboard after receiving a partial 0-7.
After halftime, Gilgeous-Alexander was unstoppable without either Rubio or Josh Okogie, perhaps the Wolves’ best defender, being able to stop the Oklahoma guard. Gilgeous-Alexander scored 15 of his team’s 26 points in the third period. Meanwhile, KAT managed to scratch 10 points, and Edwards was dry again with only 3 points in those 12 minutes. The third quarter ended with a 76-83 in the bright but, above all, with the feeling that the Wolves would be unable to find an answer to Gilgeous-Alexander and the dominance under the hoops of Brown and Pokusevski.
Although the Wolves got to within 4 points in the first 2 minutes of the fourth quarter (81-85), the Thunder only needed to press the accelerator a little to increase the distance to 17 points in just 2 minutes (81-98). The Wolves tried to close the gap again and 1.13 by the end of the game were within 6 points. But a series of errors made the attempt to tie impossible. In the end, the Timberwolves racked up their second straight loss and 33rd of the season, the worst record in the league.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.