Josh Okogie, seated at his locker postgame, was asked if, in Monday’s 117-104 loss to Oklahoma City, the fact that Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had gotten 20 rebounds was an indication …
“Say what?’’ Okogie interjected.
Yeah. 20 rebounds, 20 points, 10 assists.
“He had 20 rebounds?’’ Okogie repeated. Then he turned to teammate Robert Covington. “He got 20 rebounds?’
“That’s impressive,’’ he said. “I don’t even know what to say to that, man.’’
Actually the Wolves didn’t have an answer for much of what the Thunder (23-17) did.
The three-guard penetrate and dish attack? It resulted in 50% shooting by Oklahoma City, 40% on threes, 26 trips to the free throw line and a 51-37 edge in rebounding.
And a loss, the Wolves’ second straight, breaking a three-game winning streak at home.
“Containing the ball hurt us tonight,’’ Wolves coach Ryan Saunders said.
The night began with Thunder guard Chris Paul walking onto the floor with his jersey untucked, shooting something of a smirk toward the Timberwolves bench. The reference, of course, was the delay-of-game call Paul lobbied for and got late in regulation in the Thunder’s overtime victory over the Wolves on Dec. 6.
First laugh, last laugh.
This time it wasn’t that close. The Thunder’s 29-19 third quarter broke open a close game.
Down by 18 with 4:53 left in the third quarter, Naz Reid came off the bench to score 15 of his 20 points in an 18-8 Wolves run that pulled them within eight points with 10:23 left in the game.
But the Wolves couldn’t get enough stops down the stretch, so that momentum stalled.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (21 years, 185 days) is the youngest player in NBA history to notch a 20-rebound triple-double, passing Shaquille O’Neal. O’Neal was 21 years, 259 days old on Nov. 20, 1993 when he posted 24 points, 28 rebounds, and 15 blocks.
Danilo Gallinari scored 11 of his 30 points at the line as six teammates scored in double figures.
Covington had 18 points, Shabazz Napier 16, Jarrett Culver 14. But Andrew Wiggins didn’t score in the second half, finishing 4-for-12 from the field and Culver had only four second-half points.
“We obviously need more from everybody when we have guys that are out that are big parts of this team,’’ Saunders said, referring to Karl-Anthony Towns and Jake Layman. “I was happy with some of the guys. I was happy with what Naz was able to do. I was happy with Josh’s dribble-penetration and the way he was able to kick to some open shooters.’’
But the Wolves couldn’t close.
The good news? Towns is close to returning. And Reid continues to impress. Three first-half fouls limited Reid’s playing time to less than 3 minutes. But he was 7-for-11 shooting and 4-for-7 on three-pointers in the second half, with 12 points coming in the fourth quarter.
However, the Thunder shot 50% overall, 40% on three-pointers and 88.5% free throws. Also, a Thunder guard had 15 more rebounds than any Wolves player.
“That’s a credit to him,’’ Saunders said. “He had 20 rebounds, and 18 of them are defensive. That means you’re attacking, you’re in attack mode. That’s what we want.’’