Oklahoma City fell to 5-5 in their last 10 games with a 119-117 loss to the Timberwolves on Tuesday night.
The loss stung as the Thunder continue to struggle in winnable games. Dismissing the Wizards game against the Wizards and the Thunder have been in their losses. Four of their five losses have been by a combined 10 points.
The Thunder drop to 25-15, the best record through 40 games in the post-KD era. Oklahoma City is still third in the West playoff race.
The scary moment came with mid-third when Nerlens Noel took an elbow off contact from Andrew Wiggins. Noel then hit his head on the floor, appearing to knock him unconscious. He left on a stretcher and on last known update from Thunder head coach Billy Donovan, Noel was at OU Medical Center and no real update was given.
Sometimes things are out of your control and tonight, it appeared it was.
It started with Wiggins. He went bananas. Wiggins as it goes for overall No. 1 selections, has largely a let down… unless he’s playing the Thunder. Wiggins dropped 40 points on Oklahoma City and was ever so dominant as the Timberwolves fans has wished he’d turn into for 82 games. A key to the 40-spot: 18 free throws, officiating crew saw way too much contact and the Thunder never adjusted. Wiggins was never a shooting star in the second half. It was his free throws. He was 10-of-12 from the line in the second half.
“We put them at the free throw line too many times,” Donovan said. “e got hurt on the offensive, I mean defensive glas too many times.”
Despite all of the inconsistent officiating, the Thunder were in it. Heck, they even led with 1:14 remaining in the fourth quarter as Russell Westbrook hit a pull-up jumper from the right nail. As they have in past losses, the Thunder gave up 15 offensive rebounds in the loss to Minnesota, including six in the fourth quarter.
The cold streaks of Paul George and the inconsistency of Westbrook led to the loss from the Thunder side. Westbrook, who had been largely the reason Oklahoma City was even in the game as George went cold in the fourth. However, the play Donovan drew up came up empty as Westbrook attacked the paint, stalled, and ended up taking two ill-advised three-pointers.
“Yeah, we got some looks,” Westbrook said. “Missed them. Move on to the next.”
Minutes after the Noel injury, Dennis Schröder and Jeff Teague were involved in a mini-altercation with Teague heading to the locker rooms with double technical fouls.
Oklahoma City’s bench with the absence of Alex Abrines continues to struggle shooting the three, among other things. OKC’s bench was 2-of-5 from deep but Diallo and others were largely non-existent and were outscored 37-24.
Westbrook finished with 25 points, 19 in the second half, and 16 assists. He only pulled down five rebounds. George had 27 points on 9-of-24 shooting. He was 3-of-12 in the second half with two turnovers. Steven Adams had 20 points and 12 rebounds for the Thunder Kiwi.
The Thunder have to get their head on straight as they have back-to-back games against the San Antonio Spurs. Thursday night’s game is on TNT and is scheduled for a 8:30 p.m. tip-off. On Saturday, they’ll rotate locations and tip-off again at 7 p.m. in Oklahoma City.We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Don't forget to subsribe on Youtube! Our Podcast is on iTunes and on Stitcher. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!