Oklahoma City Thunder (1-0, 0-0 road) at Minnesota Timberwolves (0-0, 0-0 home)
Oklahoma City is coming off a big win over Orlando on Christmas. They’ll look to extend their early success against a young Timberwolves team that only won 22 games last year. Oklahoma City also has won nine games straight over Minnesota.
Minnesota is in the news for the first time for something that’s not for losing games in a long time. Ricky Rubio is finally in Minnesota. He’ll see some playing time. However, he’s not the face of this franchise. That’s still Kevin Love. Kevin Love exploded last season and looks to continue that this season. He made the All-Star team as a fill-in.
Minnesota was a pretty decent offensive team, averaging 101.1 points per game last season. However, they gave up 107.7 points per game. Oklahoma City averaged 114.2 against Minnesota in four games. The only bright spot for the Wolves in the preseason, is that they only gave up 90 points to the Bucks. (Bucks were the worst offense in the league last season).
Now on to the keys of the game.
Thunder Interior vs. Kevin Love
This is going to be almost a key against a team with a dominate big man until we’re just completely sure. However, Love dominated in his three games averaging 25.6 points per games with 19.3 rebounds. Will Kendrick Perkins defend him or will it be Serge Ibaka? Most likely a combination of Ibaka and Nick Collison. If you can limit Love to even 20 and 10, Thunder will have a great shot at blowing this team out.
Honey badger struggled a bit in his opener with seven turnovers. However, the Wolves have been his stat stuffer. Westbrook is averaging 15.9, 10.3 assists and 4.1 rebounds. Last year, Westbrook averaged 20 points, 9.5 assists and 3.3 rebounds in the four-game series against the Wolves. Would like to see Westbrook just slow down a bit. He’s a great player, I think he just got ahead of himself.
I didn’t say this in my recap, but where was Serge Ibaka? Finished wit 0 points and a -10 on the box score. Now he’s going up against Kevin Love. He needs to get in his game zone. He needs to step it up. He was such a solid defender last season, but in the preseason and in the first game, he’s been lack luster. Is he going to have his slump? Who knows. He wasn’t in himself. Even Perk barked at the bench last night “What is wrong with Serge?” Hopefully he can straighten it out.