Oklahoma City superstar Kevin Durant returned on Friday to the NBA arena that was something of a second home to him last summer, when he traveled to Target Center to watch fiancée, Monica Wright, play for the Lynx.
“I spent a lot of time here, so I got some people coming to the game,” he said, referring to Friday’s Timberwolves-Thunder game, later won by the Wolves 100-81. “I feel like I’m a part of the city a little bit.”
Friday’s game also reunited Durant with Wolves star Kevin Love, with whom he worked out last summer in Los Angeles because both players work with personal basketball-skills coach Rob McClanaghan.
“We have the same trainer and I’ve been knowing Kevin since I was 14 years old,” Durant said. “He’s a great guy to work out with because he’s so competitive and he’s always wanting to get things right. I learned a lot.”
The Thunder won 60 games last year and has won 68 percent of their games in the past three regular seasons. The Wolves still haven’t made the playoffs since 2004. Still, these two teams have played some contentious games in recent seasons, including the Thunder’s 149-140 two-overtime victory in March 2012 at Oklahoma City.
“We almost gave up 200 points that game,” Durant said, referring to a night when Love scored 52 and J.J. Barea had a triple-double. “Every game since I got into the league against the Wolves has been neither a great game or a blowout: Either they’ve blown us out or we’ve beaten them pretty bad. There’s something about them against us, I don’t know what it is.”
Getting his chance
Corey Brewer started at small forward for the second consecutive game in this young season, but this time Wolves coach Rick Adelman brought Derrick Williams off the bench first thing when Brewer got two quick fouls attempting to defend Durant.
You might remember, Williams didn’t play in Wednesday’s season-opening overtime victory over Orlando. Adelman promised it was just one game out of 82 and said Williams, Shabazz Muhammad and Robbie Hummel all could get a chance behind Brewer in the next few games.
Given the opportunity, Williams hit the backboards hard, playing 27 minutes in which he scored 10 points and grabbed seven rebounds.
Kevin Martin faced the team for which he played last season, meeting them for the first time since the two teams worked a sign-and-trade for the free agent last summer. Without him or James Harden, the Thunder sure seems to be missing a playmaker or scorer off the bench.
“K-Mart was good for us,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “He gave us the ability to score points. The thing I liked about him is he accepted his role. He has been a starter in this league for a lot of years but for us he was best coming off the bench. We won a lot of games because our guys sacrificed and he was one of them.”
• Wolves center Ronny Turiaf bruised his right elbow in a nasty second-quarter fall that drew gasps from the Friday night crowd. He went to the locker room to be X-rayed and did not return to the game. Rookie Gorgui Dieng got his first NBA action in Turiaf’s absence.
• The Thunder again played without All-Star guard Russell Westbrook, who is out for the season’s opening weeks because of complications from knee surgery he underwent last spring.
• Veteran guard A.J. Price and injured Chase Budinger were the two players the Wolves put on their inactive list for the second consecutive game this season.
• Former Wolves forward Ryan Gomes is back in the NBA and with the Thunder after he played last season in Germany. He was acquired by the Wolves in that 2007 trade that sent Kevin Garnett to Boston.
• Former Wolves guard Ricky Davis attended Friday’s game and was introduced and shown on the scoreboard during the second quarter.