Oklahoma City Thunder (22-19, 8-12 away) vs. Minnesota Timberwolves (26-16, 15-6 home)

Wednesday, Jan. 10 :: 7:00 p.m. CST :: Target center (19,356)
Coverage: FS Oklahoma (DirectTV 675, Cox 37, HD 722, Tulsa Cox 27) | 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
Coverage: ESPN (DirectTV 206, Cox 29, HD 1300, Tulsa Cox HD 1025)
View from the enemy: Here.
Line: The Oklahoma City Thunder are a 4-point underdog. The over/under is 204½.
Online Stream: Watch ESPN | WWLS Sports AnimalLive Stats | Twitter | Facebook
Game Notes: Thunder: here | T-Wolves: here

SETTING THE SCENE

  • The Oklahoma City Thunder head to the great north to take on the Minnesota Timberwolves on ESPN for a Northwestern Divisional showdown.
  • The T-Wolves own a 2-1 seasonal head-to-head series advantage.
  • Currently, the Timberwolves are fourth in the Western Conference playoff race. Oklahoma City is sixth.
  • Oklahoma City is coming off a 117-106 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers last night.
  • Minnesota is 7-3 in the last 10 games, including back-to-back double digit wins over New Orleans and Cleveland.

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).
  • If you’re not in the Oklahoma City market, tonight’s game is on ESPN. Mark Jones, Hubie Brown and Doris Burke will be on the call.

SCOUTING THE TIMBERWOLVES

  • The Minnesota Timberwolves are 26-16 on the season, fourth in the Western Conference.
  • In their last 10 games, the T-Wolves are 7-3, including winners of back-to-back games.
  • All-time, the Oklahoma City Thunder lead the series against the Minnesota Timberwolves 81-32.
  • Oklahoma City is 29-9 against Minnesota since relocation.
  • When playing at the Target Center, the Thunder are 13-6 at Minnesota.
  • The T-Wolves own a 2-1 advantage in the head-to-head this season against Oklahoma City.
  • It’s the first time since 2012-13 season, the Thunder have lose two games against Minnesota.
  • In their last game, Minnesota beat Cleveland 127-99 on Monday, Jan. 8.
  • Injury Report:
    Jeff Teague (knee) is a game-time decision.
  • 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 129-87 loss on Jan. 7, 2009.

WHAT’S IN THE T-WOLVES NAME?

  • The ownership group for Minnesota’s prospective franchise chose Timberwolves through a name-the-team contest in 1986.
  • The nickname beat out Polars by a 2-1 margin in the final vote, which was conducted in 333 of the state’s 842 city councils.
  • Tim Pope, who was one of the first fans to nominate Timberwolves, won a trip to the NBA All-Star Game. Pope submitted 10 nicknames in all, including Gun Flints. “I thought a two-word name would win,” he told a reporter.
  • The most popular entry in the contest was Blizzard, but the team wanted a nickname that was more unique to its home state. “Minnesota is the only state in the lower 48 with free-roaming packs of timber wolves,” a team official said.

INJURY REPORT

  • Andre Roberson is OUT (left patellar tendonitis).

NEXT UP

  • Oklahoma City finishes their road trip with a Saturday matinee against the Charlotte Hornets.
  • Then, the Thunder return home for four games in five games.



Three Keys to the Game

Rebound

It’s not a coincidence those who won the rebounding battle won the game. Oklahoma City dominated the rebounding battle, by 16 boards, in their win. Minnesota won by an average of eight boards per game in their two wins. Win the rebounding. Win the game?

Force turnovers

With Andre Roberson out, the Thunder have struggled to force turnovers. It’s imperative Oklahoma City’s defense comes ready to play tonight. Minnesota is first in the NBA in opponent steals, meaning they’re allowing the lowest in the NBA. The Thunder have to buck that trend.

Big Three

When you play top echelon teams like the Timberwolves, yeah that’s still weird typing that, you have to show up and show out. For Paul George, Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony, all three will have to be on their A games tonight. If they’re not, the Thunder will be answering questions once again about how Westbrook left the arena without talking to media again.

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Chuck Chaney

Founder & Editor-in-Chief.
Member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

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