NBA Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, February 22nd
(All times Eastern)
Minnesota Timberwolves (20-31) at Oklahoma City Thunder (39-15), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Mired in a season high three-game losing streak, the
Oklahoma City Thunder hope an upcoming homestand will solve their problems.
The Thunder open the homestand Friday night versus the Northwest Division-
rival Minnesota Timberwolves and have enjoyed plenty of success at Chesapeake
Energy Arena, where they are 23-4.
Oklahoma City is coming off Wednesday's 122-119 loss at Houston and was burned
by a familiar face. Rockets All-Star James Harden pumped in a career-high 46
points, hitting a career-best seven 3-pointers. Kevin Durant recorded his
second career triple-double with 16 points, 12 boards and 11 assists to lead
the Thunder, who got 28 points from both Russell Westbrook and Thabo
Harden helped the Rockets erase a 14-point deficit and was instrumental during
a 23-4 run in the fourth quarter.
"They got hot, we got cold," Durant said. "They played defense, we didn't."
The Thunder have played well after a loss this season, going 11-3 in those
games, and are 17-1 at home versus the Western Conference. They have won seven
of the past eight in the OKC. In injury news for the Thunder, center Kendrick
Perkins is questionable for Friday with a sprained right knee.
Oklahoma City made a few moves before Thursday's trade deadline, acquiring
guard Ronnie Brewer from the New York Knicks for a 2014 second-round draft
pick. The Thunder also sent guard Eric Maynor to Portland in exchange for the
rights to forward Georgios Printezis, as well as a trade exception Portland
previously had received from New York.
Minnesota has won two of its last three games and will play four of the next
five games on the road.
The Timberwolves closed out a short homestand with a 94-87 victory over
Philadelphia as Nikola Pekovic scored 27 points and pulled down a career-high
18 rebounds to lead the charge. Derrick Williams added 17 points and eight
rebounds for Minnesota, which shot 40 percent from the floor.
"It got very physical in the second half, but you have to play through it,"
said Wolves coach Rick Adelman. "Pekovic worked really hard, he had seven
offensive rebounds and he was always around the basket and that's what we
Minnesota never trailed in the game and led 16-6 early on. However, the Wolves
missed their last 11 shots of the game, but managed to hold on.
The Wolves are only 7-18 away from the Twin Cities and were quiet prior to the
NBA trade deadline.
Minnesota and Oklahoma City have split a pair of meetings already this season
with each team winning at home. The Thunder are 13-1 in the last 14 matchups
in this series and unbeaten in six straight as the host.
02/22 10:25:41 ET