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February 23, 2013

Westbrook leads Thunder past Timberwolves

(Continued)

OKLAHOMA CITY —

“We couldn’t stop them,” Rubio said. “Westbrook had too many easy baskets in the fastbreak. He’s good.”

Westbrook added nine assists and seven rebounds on top of his scoring barrage. Kevin Durant scored 27 points on 9-for-17 shooting to go along with seven rebounds and seven assists. Kevin Martin came off the bench to chip in with 19 points in the win.

“I was just trying to find the open shots,” Westbrook said. “Whenever they gave me the open shots, I was just trying to stay in attack mode.”

The Timberwolves had seven players score in double figures led by Alexey Shved, who had 17 off the bench. Kirilenko shot only nine times, but posted 15 points.

Oklahoma City’s defensive struggles followed it into the first half against the T-Wolves. After holding Minnesota to 42 -percent shooting and leading by 10 in the first quarter, the T-Wolves raised it to 60 percent and trailed 57-54 with 3:02 left in the first half.

Minnesota had a chance to go into halftime down only five, but Rubio fouled Westbrook with 0.1 of a second on the clock as he attempted a desperation 3-pointer. Westbrook knocked down all three free throws and sent Oklahoma City into the locker room leading 66-58.

Over the past month, the Timberwolves had counted on the front-court combination of Nikola Pekovic and Derrick Williams to carry them offensively. But Oklahoma City did a good job of limiting their touches in the paint and forced others to score. That finally caught up to Minnesota in the third quarter when its jump shots stopped falling.

Oklahoma City took full advantage behind Durant and Westbrook as it raced out to a 17-point advantage heading into final period.

“We realized we were on a three game losing streak tonight,” Martin said. “We just wanted to come in here and get back to playing how we know how to play.

Michael Kinney

Follow me @eyeamtruth

mkinney@normantranscript.com

 

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