The Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 111-107 in a game that saw Thunder big man Steven Adams record a new high in points scoring 27 points in a fantastic performance by the Thunder center.
Oklahoma City improves to 9-12 on the season, ending their three-game losing streak.
The Thunder started the game out aggressively with Paul George and Russell Westbrook attacking the basket early setting the tone for the team. The Thunder moved the ball exceptionally well in the first quarter which led to the Thunder finding early success as they put up 42 points in the first quarter. Westbrook and George had seven and three assists.
Adams was gigantic for the Thunder against the Timberwolves finishing with 27 points six rebounds on 11-of-11 shooting 100 percent from the field. The Thunder in previous games found Adams early in games but went away from him late in games, tonight against the Timberwolves the Thunder found Adams early but continued to look for him late in the game which was a substantial contributing factor in the win for OKC.
“I thought Steven’s offensive rebounds and his performance was very, very impactful.” Coach Billy Donovan said.
Russell Westbrook also had praise for the Thunders big man.
“Amazing,” Westbrook said. “He did a good job. His presence was felt. He did a great job of being in the paint all night long using his size and length all night long.”
It’s the first time the Thunder won a close game. Previously 10 of the 12 losses were by nine points or less. This is the first time Oklahoma City was able to close out when it mattered.
Paul George was the player of the game even though Adams had a career night. George was phenomenal everywhere finishing with 36 points four rebounds and nine assists in a game where his fellow All-Stars struggled with Westbrook shooting 28.6 percent from the field on 6-of-21 shots scoring 11 points while Carmelo Anthony had his quietest night of his Oklahoma City career scoring nine points on 4-of-7 shooting at 57.1 percent. It was George that stood up for the Thunder and steered the ship when it needs someone to take the reigns.
“He knows how to play the game,” Westbrook said. “He plays the right way.”
Oklahoma City had led by as many as 21 in the first half and saw their lead cut to 71-61 at halftime.
The Thunder once again had a double-digit lead cut to single digits in the fourth quarter. This time they kept their composure and didn’t go to isolation ball with Westbrook and Anthony they attacked the rim and found Adams in the paint.
Roberson and George locked down on defense it wasn’t a perfect game, but you can take a lot of positives away from another close game. It isn’t about today it’s about the next game, and then the next game consistency is the Thunder’s biggest fight right now, and if they can win that battle this team will be fantastic, it isn’t an easy fight to win though.
“We did a great job of staying composed when they made a run, withstanding their runs, not getting rattled and continued playing the way we started the game off.” Anthony said.
The Thunder will look to make it two in a row as they host the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday, Dec. 3. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. as we’ll have your game day coverage in arena with Brady Trantham.
Keys to the game
Be aggressive early: A
Russell Westbrook and Paul George came out attacking the Timberwolves defense early. They didn’t just shoot jump shots they attacked the rim and forced the Timberwolves defense to go two players to one which allowed Westbrook and George to find players open which allowed them to shoot 57.7 percent from the field in the first quarter making 15-of-26 shots scoring 42 points.
Russell Westbrook shooting: F
Russell Westbrook went 6-of-21 on 28.6 percent from the field and a staggering 0-of-8 from three-point range. This is the game that you just accept as a Westbrook fan. From the outside, it looks terrible, but the Thunder have accepted everything that comes with Westbrook the great the good and the absolute ugly tonight Westbrooks three-point shooting was awful tonight, and if it wasn’t for George and Adams stepping up we could be having a very different conversation about Russell Westbrook.
Keep finding Steven Adams: A+++
The Thunder won tonight’s game because they didn’t stop finding Steven Adams. Adams has struggled against Karl Anthony-Towns in past games but tonight he dominated Towns, and it was because the Thunder kept getting him the ball. The Thunder didn’t settle for jump shots late in the game as they have in the previous game they got Adams the ball in the paint, and he executed. For Oklahoma City to continue tonight’s success, they need to keep going to Adams late in the game and making opposition defenders collapse on him and opening up shots for George and Anthony.We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Our Podcast is on iTunes. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!