The Norman Transcript

National Sports

November 2, 2013

Love, Rubio help hand Oklahoma City its first loss

MINNEAPOLIS — Kevin Love had 24 points and 12 rebounds and Ricky Rubio added 14 points, 10 assists and five steals to lead the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 100-81 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night.

Nikola Pekovic had 15 points and 10 rebounds for Minnesota, which played surprisingly good defense against Kevin Durant and the Thunder. Derrick Williams had 10 points and seven rebounds for Minnesota after not playing in the opener.

Durant scored 13 points on 4-for-11 shooting and had trouble finding clean look against a Timberwolves team that was supposed to be porous on defense. But the Thunder shot 35 percent and turned the ball over 21 times to get run out of the building.

After scoring 42 in the season opener against Utah, Durant scored his fewest points since Dec. 31, 2011 when he had 12 against Phoenix. Jeremy Lamb was the only other Thunder player in double figures with 16, and it has become abundantly clear very early in the season how much they miss Russell Westbrook.

Westbrook is out indefinitely with a knee injury, and the Thunder offense has lacked its usual zip and explosiveness with the fiery guard on the bench.

Westbrook or no Westbrook, it was a bit of a statement for the Wolves, who enter this season with hopes of getting to the playoffs for the first time since 2004. They led by as many as 34 points in the game, allowing coach Rick Adelman to rest his starting five for the entire fourth quarter.

The Timberwolves shot poorly in the first half as well, but they used some opportunistic defense and made good at the free throw line to build a 20-point lead. They made 18 of 19 shots at the foul line while Durant, Kendrick Perkins and Steven Adams piled up the fouls early.

The Wolves, who figured to struggle on the defensive end this season without a true shot-blocker in the paint, forced 13 turnovers in the first half, which led to 19 points. Williams blocked two shots and the Wolves made Durant work for his touches while limiting his shot attempts. The Thunder star was just 2 for 5 from the field in the first 26 minutes, and it looked at times like he was deferring to his younger role players to try to get them involved.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
National Sports
  • Fieger leads Senior PGA

    PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Gene Fieger shot a 3-under 69 in windy conditions Thursday to take a four-stroke lead in the Senior PGA Professional National Championship....

    April 18, 2014

  • Kuchar builds on momentum

    HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. — There were no major letdowns for Masters contenders Matt Kuchar and Jordan Spieth at the RBC Heritage on Thursday. Kuchar, who tied for fifth at Augusta National, shot a bogey-free 5-under 66 to share the ...

    April 18, 2014

  • Angel Jimenez set for Champions Tour debut

    DULUTH, Ga. — Miguel Angel Jimenez’s starring role in the best Masters ever for players 50 and over was the perfect lead-in for his Champions Tour debut....

    April 18, 2014

  • Puig focuses on baseball despite issues

    SAN FRANCISCO — Yasiel Puig believes he has the support from his Los Angeles Dodgers teammates and the club to help him keep his focus on baseball despite challenges off the field....

    April 18, 2014

  • Wainwright two-hits Nats

    WASHINGTON — Adam Wainwright threw a two-hitter Thursday night for his seventh career shutout, chipped in at the plate with a double and single, and St. Louis benefited from four errors by Washington in the Cardinals’ 8-0 victory....

    April 18, 2014

  • Rangers edge M’s

    ARLINGTON, Texas — When Kevin Kouzmanoff was riding the buses in Double-A two seasons ago, he kept his focus on returning to the majors and providing the kind of production that he is now delivering for the Texas Rangers....

    April 18, 2014

  • Shields strikes out 12 as Royals sweep Astros

    HOUSTON — James Shields struck out 12 in eight innings and the Kansas City Royals completed a three-game sweep of the Houston Astros with a 5-1 win on Thursday night....

    April 18, 2014

  • Bucks owner Herb Kohl reaches deal to sell team

    MILWAUKEE — Bucks owner Herb Kohl has reached a deal to sell the franchise to New York investment firm executives Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens for about $550 million....

    April 17, 2014

  • Hopes high for Negro League stadium comeback

    PATERSON, N.J. — The light touch of a paint roller is enough to dislodge a chunk of plaster from the crumbling walls of Hinchliffe Stadium. Though silent for decades, the former home of several Negro League teams is getting another chance ...

    April 17, 2014

  • Ryu takes early lead in LPGA LOTTE

    KAPOLEI, Hawaii — So Yeon Ryu shot a 4-under 68 on Wednesday to take the lead halfway through a windy first round of the LPGA LOTTE Championship. Japan’s Ayako Uehara was one stroke back....

    April 17, 2014