NBA -- Unafraid of Thunder, Wolves beat OKC
By Homer D. Sayson
Sat, 22 Dec 2012
CHICAGO -- The best team in the NBA with a 21-4 record and a 12-game winning streak, the rolling OKC Thunder stormed into Minneapolis, Minnesota on Thursday night looking for a fresh victim and a chance to create more distance between them and the rest of the chasing league
But the host Timberwolves had other plans. Behind the 28 points of All-Star forward Kevin Love, who drained 4-of-9 threes, Minnesota turned back the Thunder, 99-93, at the Target Center.
"A very good win against the best team in the West. What I really liked about it is how we played four quarters. We knew they were going to make a run at us, but we got some stops and made some shots down the stretch. Just a terrific win for our guys," Timberwolves head coach Rick Adelman told NBA.com.
Superstar Kevin Durant exploded for 33 points while sidekick Russell Westbrook finished with 30. But it wasn't enough to save the Thunder, who made only 33-of-82 field goals (40.2 percent) and 5-of-20 threes (25 percent).
Trailing for most of the game, the Thunder inched to within 80-77 off a pair of Durant free throws with still 8:56 to go. But reserve J.J. Barea, who helped the Dallas Mavericks win the NBA title in 2011, rescued the Wolves by scoring 14 fourth quarter points, including three threes.
Nikola Pakovic, Minnesota's hulking 6-foot-11, 290-pound center, turned in 24 points and 10 rebounds. Barea ended with a total of 18 while Alexey Shved added 12 for Minnesota, which converted 37-of-84 field goals and 9-of-20 threes.
Despite their little stumble, the 21-5 Thunder still leads the NBA while the Timberwolves moved up to a modest 13-11. (Homer D. Sayson)
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