Russell Westbrook drove the lane for some huge field goals and Reggie Jackson nailed key second half free throws as the Oklahoma City Thunder easily beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 92-84 on Monday.
The Thunder cruised to the victory despite missing superstar forward Kevin Durant, who sat out with a sprained toe. Durant injured his left big toe in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s NBA contest against Cleveland.
This was the 24th game Durant has missed this season after not playing in just 16 contests over his first seven seasons.
Westbrook tallied 18 points and five assists and Serge Ibaka had 13 points and pulled down 19 rebounds as the Thunder won for the fourth time in their last six contests. Westbrook shot just seven-of-22 from the field in front of the crowd of 18,200 at Chesapeake Energy Arena but he battled through his shooting difficulties.
Thaddeus Young finished with 22 points and eight rebounds, Andrew Wiggins provided 23 points and Gorgui Dieng snatched 18 rebounds for Minnesota, which has dropped five consecutive games.
The Thunder led 21-19 late in the opening quarter before creating some breathing room following a 17-5 surge that stretched into the second. Anthony Morrow and Jackson jump-started the run with baskets and Oklahoma City led 25-19 after the first quarter.
Dion Waiters banked in a fadeaway jumper and then drained a thee-pointer before finding Jackson on an alley-oop dunk to cap the run and give the Thunder a 38-24 cushion halfway through the second quarter.
Perry Jones’ reverse layup at the first half buzzer gave the Thunder a 48-40 lead at halftime.
Consecutive Young baskets finished off a 10-2 flurry to help Minnesota pull within 57-54 midway through the third quarter.
Oklahoma City answered by closing the third on an 8-2 run. Jackson sank three free throws to help extend the lead and give the Thunder a 65-56 margin after three.
Minnesota never got closer than seven points in the final quarter. – Agence France-Presse