Wolves overcome by Thunder's star power

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 23, 2013 - 2:18 AM

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook took charge, making Oklahoma City's three-game losing skid a mere memory.

OKLAHOMA CITY - Rick Adelman exhibited little empathy for the opposition before Friday night's game at Oklahoma City, and he probably felt even less after the Thunder stopped the sky from falling by beating his Timberwolves 127-111.

Last season's NBA finalists arrived at Chesapeake Arena as losers of three consecutive games, a disaster that led Thunder coach Scott Brooks to quip before the game, "It's tough to be the Thunder right now, huh?"

The 127 points are the most allowed by the Wolves this season, by 13 points. Adelman gladly would swap problems after the Thunder thumped his guys.

The tag-team combination of all-stars Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant combined for 64 points, while Wolves couldn't get a stop and were flabbergasted, flummoxed, appalled, dumbfounded, perplexed, disgusted and left incredulous by the officiating all evening.

"What's their record?" Adelman asked on a night when the Thunder went to 40-15 while his team lost for the 17th time in 21 games. "I have no sympathy at all."

Brooks had blamed that ridiculous three-game losing streak to Utah, Miami and Houston -- one shy of the franchise's longest since its first season in Oklahoma City in 2008-09, when it started 3-29 before abruptly changing course -- on his team's defense, or rather its lack of it.

He declared himself "not thrilled" with said defense again Friday night, but it doesn't matter as much when your team runs -- and scores -- at will and reaches 100 points before third quarter's end.

Westbrook and Durant each approached a triple double. Westbrook had 37 points, nine assists and seven rebounds, while Durant had 27 points, seven assists and seven boards. Kevin Martin scored 19 points off the bench.

The Wolves trailed by five points with 1.8 seconds left before halftime, then surrendered a 9-0 Thunder run that ended the second quarter and began the third quarter after Luke Ridnour fouled Westbrook's desperation three-pointer to end the half and Westbrook made all three shots.

Down 72-58 before the second half was 90 seconds old, the Wolves trailed by as many as 18 points and never by fewer than eight again. Adelman didn't play his starting frontcourt in the fourth quarter. Starting center Nikola Pekovic played only 22 minutes and scored five points not because of injury but mostly because the game turned into a track meet when Westbrook got out on the break and to the basket time after time.

More than once, the Wolves turned to the officiating crew in search of calls that never came.

"It was going the other way quickly. We have to learn," Adelman said, repeating a season's theme. "We just have to learn that against one of the best teams in the league, we're not going to get a lot of calls, on the road especially. You have to try to play through it, although sometimes it gets really difficult."

J.J. Barea fouled out trying to keep Westbrook in front of him. Ricky Rubio often looked like a European soccer player pleading for calls.

"We're not doing well," Rubio said when asked how his team is meeting Adelman's call that they simply play on. "We have to forget about the referees. Sometimes they do mistakes like we do when we play. Sometimes it's frustrating, but we have to keep playing. We're not going to change how they call on us.

"It wasn't their fault we lost. It was our fault because we weren't good enough on defense."

  • OKLA. CITY 127, WOLVES 111

    Up next: 2:30 p.m. Sunday

    vs. Golden State • Target Center

    TV: FSN (830-AM)

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