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Thunder Game Day #41: at Minnesota Timberwolves

Oklahoma City Thunder (24-16, 9-10 away) vs. Minnesota Timberwolves (13-26, 8-13 home)
Friday, Jan. 13 :: 7:00 p.m. CST :: Target Center (19,356)

Thunder Game Day #41: at Minnesota Timberwolvesvs. Thunder Digest

TV: FS Oklahoma (DirectTV 676-5, Cox 37, HD 722, Tulsa Cox 27, U-Verse 751/1751 HD)
Online Streamhere.
RadioWWLS Sports Animal 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemyHere.
Line: Oklahoma City is a 2-point favorite. O/U is 207
Notes: Thunder: here | T-Wolves: here

SETTING THE SCENE

  • Oklahoma City has won three in a row and they take the win streak to the cold north to play the Minnesota Timberwolves.
  • Karl Anthony-Towns led T-Wolves have won back-to-back games, including ending Houston’s winning streak.
  • Oklahoma City is 2-0 vs. Minnesota this season.

FOLLOWING THE ACTION

  • You can catch the radio on Oklahoma City’s WWLS, 98.1 FM. Matt Pinto will be your play-by-play voice. If you’re in Tulsa, catch it on 1450 AM.
  • Brian Davis and Michael Cage call the game on the Thunder’s flagship station, Fox Sports Oklahoma. You can watch the game there, catch it on NBA League Pass, or use the Fox Sports App (If you’re in Oklahoma)

SCOUTING THE T-WOLVES

  • Minnesota is 13-26 on the season, 13th in the Western Conference.
  • In their last 10 games, the Nuggets are 4-6.
  • The Timberwolves have won back-to-back games, they lost four in a row before that.
  • Minnesota beat Houston 119-105 on Wednesday night.
  • The Thunder is 26-6 against Minnesota during the Oklahoma City era.
  • Oklahoma City has won 12 of the last 13 against Minnesota.
  • The Thunder are 11-4 at the Target Center.
  • Zach LaVine (hip) is a game-time decision.
  • Nikola Pekovic (ankle) is out for the season.
  • The Thunder’s largest margin of victory over Minnesota came on April 15, 2015, where Oklahoma City prevailed by a score of 138-113 (25-point margin of victory).
  • Meanwhile, the Thunder’s largest margin of defeat (42 points) vs. Minnesota occurred during an 87-129 loss on Jan. 7, 2009.

RUSSELL WESTBROOK TRIP-DUBS

  • Russell Westbrook has 55 career triple-doubles, that’s best for sixth all-time.
  • 16 of the 55 are against Houston, Orlando, Washington, and Philadelphia. He has four against each team.
  • Russell Westbrook seven triple-doubles in a row this season is the most since 1989 when Jordan had seven in a row and 10 in 11 games.

INJURY REPORT

  • Oklahoma City is relatively healthy.

50 IS NIFTY

  • On March 24, the Thunder claimed a 22-point home victory over the Jazz and in the process, OKC recorded the team’s 50th win of the season.
  • Oklahoma City has now finished with a winning percentage of .610 (equivalent to 50 wins) six times dating back to the 2009-10 season.
  • Only the San Antonio Spurs (seven seasons with .610 winning percentage), have reached that benchmark more during this period.

STILL GOOD ODDS

  • According to Sportsbook, the Oklahoma City Thunder have the eighth best odds to win the Larry O’Brien trophy.
  • They have the fifth best odds to win the Western Conference behind, the Clippers, Spurs, Rockets, and the Warriors.

NEXT UP

  • Oklahoma City travels to Sacramento on Sunday night.
  • The Kings are 16-22 on the season, ninth in the Western Conference
  • The Kings pummeled the Thunder in their only meeting.
  • Sacramento is 5-5 in their last 10 games.

KEYS TO THE GAME

Limit Zach LaVine

The former UCLA star has blown up against Oklahoma City in the past few years. A reminder he had 35 points against the Thunder last year. This season, he’s had some really quality games. If he playes, the Thunder need to find a way to limit what he can do and not let him kill them.

Be Aggressive

The length of Minnesota provides some extra protection the Thunder are aware of. However, with this length comes the inexperience and youth of a team that has nine key players with three or less years of experience. Attack and be aggressive. Don’t let this team get to the foul line a lot and use it to Oklahoma City’s advantage and get to the charity stripe a lot.

Force turnovers

Minnesota turns it over more than most teams in the league at 15 turns a contest. Oklahoma City needs to attack and be aggressive, forcing the youth of Minnesota to be their Achilles heel. Oklahoma City has been able to do that in the clutch, forcing more turnovers than any team in the association.

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