Gameday preview: Oklahoma City at Wolves
- January 3, 2014 - 9:18 PM
7 P.M. VS. OKLAHOMA CITY • TARGET CENTER • FSN PLUS, 830-AM
Preview: The Thunder (25-7) has won its past seven road games. It is 14-3 at home, too, but is coming off consecutive home losses to Portland and Brooklyn after leading by 16 points in the second half of each game. “They had complete control the last two games and let it slip away,” Wolves coach Rick Adelman said, “so they’re going to be ready to go.” … Oklahoma City again is without injured All-Star Russell Westbrook, who didn’t play when the Wolves won 100-81 at Target Center in the season’s second game. The Wolves limited Kevin Durant to a season-low 13 points on 4-for-11 shooting. … Both Wolves forward Chase Budinger and center Ronny Turiaf scrimmaged long and fully Friday and each player’s return from injury is fast approaching. Adelman calls Saturday returns “wishful thinking,” but added “I think pretty soon, I really do.”
Players to watch: Saturday’s game features the NBA’s top two scorers: Durant (28.6 ppg) and Kevin Love (26.3 ppg, tied with Carmelo Anthony). Love led the NBA in scoring in December with a 30-point average and scored 25 or more points in 11 consecutive games from Dec. 10 to Dec. 30. Durant, meanwhile, is averaging career highs in rebounding (8.4 rpg) and assists (4.8). He has reached 30 points and 10 rebounds eight times this season after doing so just four times last season.
Injuries: Wolves G Ricky Rubio (calf) and C Nikola Pekovic (ankle) didn’t participate in Friday’s contact parts of practice, but Adelman called both players’ absence “precautionary” and said he expects them to play. F Luc Mbah a Moute didn’t practice Thursday or Friday and is questionable because of a groin injury. Thunder G Russell Westbrook (knee surgery) is out.
© 2014 Star Tribune