Determined Wolves quiet Oklahoma City at Target Center

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 2, 2013 - 5:56 AM

The Wolves started fast and kept rolling, coasting past the Thunder while keeping superstar Kevin Durant from becoming a factor.

New Timberwolves guard Kevin Martin watched his Oklahoma City team play more than 100 games a season ago and never witnessed what he saw in Friday’s 100-81 victory over the Thunder at Target Center.

Two nights after they led Orlando by 18 points but still needed overtime to win, they held Thunder superstar Kevin Durant to the fewest points — 13, on 4-for-11 shooting — he has scored in a game since New Year’s Eve 2011.

Martin called starting small forward Corey Brewer’s individual effort and the Wolves’ collective defense against Durant and a Thunder team missing injured star Russell Westbrook a “one-of-a-kind performance” for a team whose defense clearly is its biggest question.

“Memphis did a great job on Durant last year in the playoffs,” Martin said, referring to the Thunder’s second-round loss. “But what we showed tonight, that was a special moment for our team, knowing defense was our weak spot going into the season.”

The Wolves opened the season 2-0 for only the fifth time in the franchise’s 25 seasons and the first time since 2006-07, when Kevin Garnett played for them. They led by as many as 31 points, never letting the Thunder get within single digits after the game’s first nine minutes, never letting Durant become a factor only two nights after he shot 24 free throws and scored 42 of his team’s 101 points in a season-opening victory at Utah.

“We wanted somebody else to beat us tonight,” Wolves coach Rick Adelman said about a game when his own Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio and Nikola Pekovic each recorded a double- double.

Brewer probably worked harder in 21 minutes Friday than he did playing 40 in Wednesday’s opener. He used his determination and long arms against Durant all night, contesting him at every turn for a team that did the same with another helping defender every time Durant did catch the ball.

“That’s what I do, you know?” Brewer said. “They have Kevin Durant. I tried to stop him. We stopped him. We got a win.”

The Thunder is playing the season’s opening weeks without Westbrook, their All-Star point guard who has had the same sort of complications with knee meniscus surgery that Wolves forward Chase Budinger has had.

Without him, the Thunder looked like Durant and 12 Other Guys on Friday, thanks in good measure to a Wolves defense that forced 21 turnovers and turned them into 25 points. Durant took just 11 shots, opting instead often to find his teammates when the Wolves sent a second defender at him. His teammates made 25 of 72 shots, for 34 percent.

When asked about Brewer’s effort, Durant said, “On me? It’s not just one guy. Every time I caught it, there were two guys guarding me. So I have to kick it to my teammates. So I have to make better decisions in that area. But one guy is never going to guard me.”

The Wolves scored 59 points in the first half and 88 by the end of three quarters, illustrating that, yes, their offense isn’t going to be an issue. Defense is another matter, but the Wolves answered that Friday, if only for a night. Adelman did caution afterward that “it’s early, just two games.”

“I was telling somebody, if we play defense like that, we’re in for a fantastic year,” Martin said.

 

  • WOLVES 100, OKLAHOMA CITy 81

    Up next: at New York • 6:30 p.m. Sunday • TV: FSN Plus (830-AM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Houston 1 Bottom 7th Inning
Miami 1
Philadelphia 1 Top 8th Inning
Minnesota 6
St. Louis 3 Bottom 7th Inning
Detroit 2
Baltimore 7 Top 8th Inning
NY Yankees 2
Boston 7 Bottom 7th Inning
Tampa Bay 5
Toronto 3 Top 7th Inning
Pittsburgh 8
Atlanta 3 Bottom 7th Inning
Toronto 3
Washington 1 Bottom 7th Inning
NY Mets 6
Chicago Cubs 3:05 PM
Cincinnati
San Diego 3:05 PM
Texas
San Francisco 3:05 PM
Seattle
Colorado 3:05 PM
Chicago Cubs
Cleveland 3:05 PM
Milwaukee
Oakland 3:05 PM
Chicago WSox
Los Angeles 3:10 PM
LA Angels
Kansas City 3:10 PM
Arizona
Atlanta 6:00 PM
Charlotte
New York 7:00 PM
Chicago
Golden State 7:30 PM
Milwaukee
Oklahoma City 8:00 PM
Utah
Denver 9:00 PM
Portland
Nashville 4 FINAL
Washington 3
Arizona 1 3rd Prd 11:42
Pittsburgh 1
San Jose 2 3rd Prd 10:13
Philadelphia 2
Anaheim 3 3rd Prd 2:09
NY Islanders 2
NY Rangers 1 3rd Prd 9:39
Boston 4
Tampa Bay 0 2nd Prd 10:41
Detroit 3
New Jersey 6:00 PM
Carolina
Florida 6:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 6:00 PM
Toronto
Los Angeles 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Columbus 7:00 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 8:00 PM
Colorado
Dallas 9:00 PM
Vancouver
Arizona 5:09 PM
Wisconsin
Canisius 6:30 PM
NJIT
Notre Dame 7:49 PM
Kentucky
San Jose 0 1st Half 44:55
New England 0
Orlando City 3:00 PM
Montreal
Los Angeles 6:00 PM
D.C.
Sporting Kansas City 6:00 PM
New York City
Red Bull New York 6:30 PM
Columbus
Portland 7:00 PM
Vancouver FC
Colorado 7:30 PM
Houston
Seattle 7:30 PM
FC Dallas
Texas 54 FINAL
(1) Connecticut 105
Dayton 30 2nd Half
(8) Louisville 29
(16) Duke 3:30 PM
(4) Maryland
Gonzaga 6:00 PM
(6) Tennessee
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: What are you following most closely right now?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close