Wow… what a game.
The Oklahoma City Thunder and Minnesota Timberwolves provided fans with the best game of the season so far. The Thunder ended up winning this face-off in double-overtime, 149-140 (the highest scoring game this year by far), but numbers can’t portray how back-and-forth this game really was.
No doubt about it – this showdown should be considered an instant classic. This game featured two of the premiere power forwards in the game (Kevin Durant and Kevin Love) and supporting casts from both sides stepping up in big ways.
- Kevin Durant racked up 40 points and grabbed 17 rebounds as he made two clutch 3-pointers in the waning seconds of regulation and in the first overtime. Kevin Love had a franchise-high 51 points and grabbed 14 points when he wasn’t putting the ball through the net. He also reminded Chesapeake Energy Arena that he did in fact win the NBA Three-Point Shootout by making a career-high seven 3-pointers.
- This game showcased the future of the NBA. With the loss of Ricky Rubio to a season-ending injury, the T-Wolves will most likely miss the playoffs. But they have the pieces for success in the future. The Thunder have obviously already emerged as one of the NBA elite teams. Durant and Love are two top-tier players on two teams that will eventually be elite for a long time (reminds me of two other power forwards from Texas…)
- J.J. Barea became the first Latin American-born player in NBA history to record a triple double (25 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds). In his previous game against the Spurs, he put up 18 points and 11 assists. He is playing at a very high level right now and reminding the NBA why and how he played an integral role in the Mavericks championship run last year.
- Russell Westbrook played out of his mind against the Thunder’s divisional rival. The freak-of-an-athlete point guard scored a career-high 45 points on an efficient 17-28 shooting. The Thunder signed him to an extension earlier this season, and if his play remains anywhere near what he did tonight, Oklahoma City ownership will be very satisfied.
- Anthony Tolliver, who only averages 3.6 points on the season, continued his recent exceptional play. The lesser-known Minnesota power forward had a season-high 23 points on 9-13 shooting. He had 10 and 16 points in his previous two contests. A consistent spark off the bench from a big man (no, Michael Beasley, you don’t provide this for the team) would be helpful for the Timberwolves.
- The third-wheel on the Thunder shouldn’t be forgotten since he had a great all-around game. James Harden finished with 25 points, six rebounds and six assists. Having this punch from a sixth man that has the skill-set to do whatever the team needs him to do will be invaluable for Oklahoma City once the playoffs roll around.
- Serge Ibaka continued to remind older fans of Marcus Camby as he had five big blocks on the night. This is the tenth time he has had five or more blocks in a game this season as he easily leads the league with 3.3 blocks per game. He might be scoring less than he did last year, but with the way he controls the paint night in and night out, I think the city of Oklahoma City couldn’t be happier with his play.
- Scott Brooks understood the difference between a fan’s perspective and his own perspective in regard to this thriller. Either way – he knows it was a game to be remembered.
- “I’m sure the fans and players enjoyed this one more than me,” Brooks said. “Both teams made incredible plays, just plays after plays after plays. Our team never gives up but we never could figure them out and Love had a big game against all our guys.”
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