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Thunder Game Day No. 3: vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

Oklahoma City Thunder (1-1, 1-0 home) vs. Minnesota Timberwolves (1-1, 0-1 away)

Sunday, Oct. 22 :: 6:00 p.m. CST :: Chesapeake Energy Arena (18,203)

 

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 enemy: Here.
Line: The Oklahoma City Thunder are a 4-point favorite. The over/under is 210½.
Notes: Thunder: here | T-Wolves: here

SETTING THE SCENE

  • The Thunder look to have a short memory as the rebuilt Minnesota Timberwolves come to Oklahoma City for the first of four match ups this season. They’ll knock out two of them this week.
  • Oklahoma City felt the bitter sting of defeat with a 96-87 set back to the Utah Jazz on Saturday, Oct. 21. Oklahoma City trailed by as many as 20 in the game.
  • Minnesota beat Utah 100-97 on Friday, Oct. 20 to get their first win of the season.
  • The Thunder are 13-2 in their last 15 games against Minnesota, including 15-2 all-time at home.

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).
  • You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook for game updates.

Thunder thump Knicks

  • Recap
  • The Thunder was down by as much as 19 in the first half until an 11-3 run to close the half and a couple of jumpers to start the third quarter cut the Jazz lead to four points. A Joe Ingles three-pointer then kicked off a Utah run and Oklahoma City was unable to close the gap.
  • Oklahoma City tallied 14 steals for the second consecutive night and scored 24 points off 19 Utah turnovers.
  • Jerami Grant logged his 5,000th career minute, making him one of five NBA players since he was drafted in 2014 with at least 5,000 minutes and 750 rebounds in less than 70 starts (Will Barton, Trevor Booker, Andre Iguodala and teammate Patrick Patterson).
  • For the second night in a row, Paul George was perfect from the free throw line (3-of-3) as he produced 22 points, five rebounds and five steals.

NEW FACES

  • The Oklahoma City Thunder added a bunch of new faces this year.
  • Paul George was acquired on June 30 for Domantas Sabonis and Victor Oladipo.
  • Carmelo Anthony joins the Thunder after Oklahoma City sent Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and a second round pick to the Knicks for Anthony.
  • Oklahoma City also signed Raymond Felton and Patrick Patterson via free agency.
  • Terrance Ferguson was drafted in the first round out of Australia.
  • Oklahoma City also added PJ Dozier, undrafted rookie out of South Carolina to a two-way deal.

Anthony moving up the ranks

  • Carmelo Anthony currently ranks 25th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list (24,204 points) and fourth among active players behind Dirk Nowitzki, LeBron James and Vince Carter.
  • Anthony is also one of six players in league history alongside Kobe Bryant, Vince Carter, LeBron James, Dirk Nowitzki and Paul Pierce to record 24,000 points, 6,000 rebounds, 2,500 assists, 1,000 steals and 1,000 three-point field goals.

PG13

  • Paul George is the only player since he was drafted in 2010 with at least 2,800 rebounds, 700 steals and a three-point percentage of 37 percent or better.
  • He is one of just five players with at least 8,000 points in 400 starts or less alongside Damian Lillard, Isaiah Thomas, Kyrie Irvingand Kemba Walker.

Westbrook

  • To cap off his MVP season, Russell Westbrook registered his NBA-record-setting 42nd triple-double of the season last April 9th in Denver (Oscar Roberson tallied 41 triple-doubles during the 1961-62 season). Trailing 103-105 with 2.9 seconds left, Westbrook connected on a game-winning 36-foot 3-point field goal to also become the only player in NBA history to post three 50-point triple-doubles in a single season.
  • He is the only player in NBA history to register seven consecutive triple-doubles on two separate occasions during a single season.
  • Westbrook also posted five straight 30-point triple-doubles this season to become the only player in NBA history to ever accomplish the feat.
  • To put further perspective on Westbrook’s triple-doubles, there are 11 NBA teams that have amassed fewer triple-doubles in their entire team history as compared to the 42 logged by Westbrook

Injury Report

  • Oklahoma City is relatively healthy heading into tonight’s game.

Still good odds

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

SCOUTING THE T-Wolves

  • The Minnesota Timberwolves finished last season 31-52, 13th in the Western Conference.
  • Minnesota is 1-1 on the season, currently tied for seventh in the Western Conference.
  • In their all-time series against the T-Wolves, Oklahoma City is 80-30.
  • Since moving to Bricktown, The Thunder are 28-7 against Minnesota.
  • When playing at Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City is 15-2 all-time vs. the T-Wolves.
  • Last season, Oklahoma City beat Minnesota 3-1 in their regular season series.
  • Oklahoma City has won 13 of their last 14 against the T-Wolves.
  • Minnesota added Jeff Teague and Jimmy Butler in the offseason and traded Ricky Rubio and Zach LaVine.
  • Justin Patton (foot) is out.
  • 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.

Next Up

  • On Wednesday, The Indiana Pacers (1-2) come to town on Wednesday night for Paul George’s first game against his former team.
  • Following that:
  • Oklahoma City then travels to Minneapolis on Friday night to give the T-Wolves another game.
  • The Thunder will have their second back-to-back of the season, playing the Bulls on Saturday.

Three Keys to the Game

Bench Performance

Oklahoma City’s bench is invisible in the first half. They have a combined eight points in their first two games in the first halves. Oklahoma City has to get their bench more efficient in the production. They’re shooting 2-of-13 (15.4 percent) in the first half.

Go Fast

The Thunder were able to get into transition against the Knicks (35 points) but were only able to score eight points against Utah. This is only a super small sample size but it’s still telling. Minnesota is ranked 19th in allowing fast break points at 11.5 points per game. Maybe this is something Oklahoma City can exploit.

Get to the foul line

At only 20.5 attempts per game, the Thunder rank 21st in free throw attempts. It doesn’t help Russell Westbrook has struggled from the line in the first two games. Westbrook is 8-of-14 (57.1 percent) this season. He was 1-of-4 in the loss to Utah. Westbrook is a career 82 percent free throw shooter. The Thunder (and Russ) have to get to the line more.

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