Ibaka, Defense Lead Thunder To Win
By Randy Renner
The Thunder offense struggled without Kevin Durant on the floor, who missed the game with a sprained big toe, even though they were playing against the team with the worst defense in the NBA.
Minnesota was averaging giving up 107.5 points on 49.6 percent shooting (both last in the NBA) but the Thunder could score only 92 points on 41.9 percent shooting,
Fortunately OKC's defense held the Timberwolves to just 84 points on 34.1 percent shooting to secure the 92-84 win.
"It wasn't a good start, but we continue to fight and scrap and we made it a defensive game," said Thunder head coach Scott Brooks. "We were sluggish but we still competed and protected the basket."
Serge Ibaka had an outstanding game with 13 points and 19 rebounds (one short of tying his career high). He also blocked two shots and stole the ball twice.
Russell Westbrook had a big fourth quarter with 11 points on 4-for-6 shooting to finish the game with 18 points, five assists and four rebounds. westbrook struggled to get much of anything going until the last 12 minutes when he began to dominate.
Reggie Jackson had a strong night with 14 points on 5-for-7 shooting. Anthony Morrow also had 14 points but he continues to struggle with his shot. He was just 5-for-13 overall and an abysmal 1-for-7 on threes, but the one he hit came at a critical time to fight off a potential Timberwolves comeback.
The Thunder were probably lucky Minnesota has been so decimated by injuries this season otherwise they might very well have lost with the type of game they played most of the night.
But a win's a win, the ugly ones count the same as the pretty ones and the Thunder will definitely take it.
Durant is officially listed as day-to-day with a sprained big toe on his left foot. The injury is not believed to be serious and He may get some extra time to rest. The Thunder are scheduled to fly to New York City Tuesday afternoon for their scheduled game with the Knicks Wednesday night but that big snowstorm moving through the area could change those plans. The NBA cancelled both the Knicks and the Nets games on Monday night.
We'll keep you posted hre on the site and on our Twitter feed page with updates on the status of Wednesday's game. It would be nice if the Thunder are able to make the trip because as bad as Minnesota is, New York is much worse and the Thunder could use another win before heading to Memphis for Saturday night's game against the Grizzlies.