OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma City knows it can score at will. The NBA’s second highest scoring team is never worried about going into a prolonged slump.
So when the Thunder had only 16 points in the first quarter Wednesday when facing a beleaguered Minnesota squad, Kevin Durant said his team wasn’t worried. He knew the offense would come around at some point. Until then, they relied on their defense to keep them in the game as they went on to defeat the Timberwolves, 106-84, at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
“We will take that every day,” Durant said. “We are not worried about our offense because we know that can come around. We always say we give ourselves a chance to win if our offense isn’t clicking, but we play defense.”
The win moved the Thunder (27-8) to 18-3 at home this season. The Timberwolves tried to overcome the injury bug that has hit them hard this season, but they just didn’t have the manpower to duplicate the victory they got over Oklahoma City last month.
“Our guys played hard,” Timberwolves assistant coach Terry Porter said. “But we just ran out of gas.”
The Timberwolves (16-16) kept the game tight for a half, but the Thunder seemingly learned a lesson from its loss Monday to Washington and pulled away in the third and fourth quarters.
Oklahoma City forced 19 turnovers and scored 26 points off them.
“We talk about having that mindset defensively because we are a defensive team that wants to score off of our defense,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “I thought our hands were very active. We talked about just having multiple hands on the basketball. When you do that, you can create turnovers.”
Playing without Kevin Love, Chase Budinger, J.J. Barea and Brandon Roy, Minnesota got 18 points from Alexey Shved, while Nikola Pekovic added 17 points and 10 rebounds.