OKLAHOMA CITY —
Durant scored 26 points on 10-for-17 from the field to go along with eight rebounds, three assists, three steals and four blocked shots. Russell Westbrook collected 23 points, seven assists and eight rebounds for the Thunder. Kevin Martin came off the bench to chip in with 19 points, including going 4-for-7 from behind the arc.
Martin had been in a shooting slump from 3-point range. His coach was glad to see him shoot his way out of it.
“All of our players have a lot of pride in how they play and he works on his game quite a bit,” Brooks said. “If you put your time in, sooner or later your shots are going to fall, and they were falling tonight.”
Coming off Oklahoma City’s loss to the Wizards, Brooks had wanted his team to come out and put its foot down on the injury-riddled Timberwolves from the very start. It didn’t work out that way. The teams were tied at 16-16 when the first quarter ended.
Pekovic was a force for Minnesota early on. He pounded the glass and pulled down five rebounds to go along with six points in the first 12 minutes.
Durant and the Oklahoma City bench came out running in the second quarter and helped push the lead into double digits.
But Shved and Andrei Kirilenko spearheaded a 12-2 run to tie the game at 42-42 with less than a minute left in the half. The Thunder scored the final five points to take a 47-42 lead into halftime.
“Our best offense is our defense, I think,” Durant said. “Once we get those guys turned over, we get out with some transition baskets, and that’s when we excel — especially in our building when our crowd can get into it.”
Michael KinneyFollow me @email@example.com