Preview 32 of 82: Timberwolves @ Thunder
Time: 7:00 PM CST
Game Notes: Thunder / Timberwolves
The Oklahoma City Thunder (21-10) return home to Chesapeake Energy Arena tonight, taking on the Minnesota Timberwolves (14-18) on the second night of a back-to-back. The Thunder are coming off last night’s 107-106 victory in Utah — and currently tied with the Denver Nuggets for the number one spot in the Western Conference. The Timberwolves, on the other hand, have stumbled out of the gate this season and lost six of their last seven games.
Tip-off is at 7:00 P.M. CST and will be televised on Fox Sports Oklahoma. The Thunder are seven-point home favorites according to Odds Shark.
- Andre Roberson: Out — Knee
- Derrick Rose: Questionable — Ankle
- Jeff Teague: Out — Knee
Timberwolves: Derrick Rose, Andrew Wiggins, Robert Covington, Taj Gibson, Karl Anthony-Towns
What to Watch For
Feats of Strength. Paul George put on a show last night in Utah, dropping 43 points, 14 assists, six assists, and five steals. He’s averaging 35 points and 9.2 rebounds over the Thunder’s last five games, shooting 48.8 percent from long range in the process. He’s assumed the role of OKC’s go-to scorer this season, and will likely be called upon to carry the load tonight if the Thunder fall behind and need his heroics.
Airing of Grievances. On the flip side, Russell Westbrook is coming off a season-low scoring effort, dropping eight points on 3-of-17 shooting last night in Utah. He’s now averaging 16.1 points per game in the month of December, shooting just 35.2 percent from the field and 26 percent from deep. Despite the 7-3 record this month, Westbrook needs to improve his shooting percentages before this team can reach their final form.
Fighting Fatigue. The Thunder are on the back end of a back-to-back and got no breaks last night in Utah — as George (40), Jerami Grant (39), and Steven Adams (39) all played heavy minutes. The Timberwolves have been off since Wednesday, so they’ll be well-rested. Wouldn’t be surprising to see fatigue play a factor.
The Other Guys. Karl Anthony-Towns leads the Timberwolves with 21 points and 11.6 rebounds per game. Derrick Rose (18.5 PPG) is playing well enough to potentially provide an entertaining Russ/D-Rose matchup. Andrew Wiggins is contributing 16.3 PPG, followed by Robert Covington at 13.9 PPG. Along with trying to stop Towns, the perimeter will be another area of emphasis for the Thunder defense. The T-Wolves shoot 35.6 percent from long range, good for 10th in NBA.