Tip-Off: 7 PM CST
Location: Target Center (Minneapolis, MN)
Radio: The Sports Animal
Twitter: Follow @TheThunderGuys for live-tweets during the game
Player to Watch
C Karl-Anthony Towns continues to dominate for the struggling Minnesota Timberwolves averaging 21.7 points, 11.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 1.5 blocks per game. In the previous two meetings between the Timberwolves and the Thunder, KAT has been the difference maker for Minnesota. Oklahoma City has won both games, but in the two losses for the Timberwolves, Towns has averaged 29.5 points on 57.5% along with 7 rebounds. Steven Adams has been playing career-best basketball over the last couple weeks, so while Towns can be a force in the paint, so can Adams.
Keys to the Game
- Dominate the Paint: In the first two games between the Thunder and the Timberwolves, Oklahoma City has averaged 64 points in the paint. The Thunder is tied for 1st in the NBA in points in the paint with 50.5 per game, and the Timberwolves give up 44.6 points in the paint per game, which is 22nd in the league. Thunder bigs Steven Adams and Enes Kanter have been on a tear lately, and they will play an important role in tonight’s game against a weak Timberwolves interior defense.
- Control Tempo: Oklahoma City scores 17.5 fast break points per game, 3rd in the NBA, and ranks 2nd in transition defense allowing only 10.7 fast break points from opponents. In two games against the Timberwolves, the Thunder has averaged 16.5 fast break points compared to Minnesota’s 9.5. Oklahoma City needs to get out and run the break but still make sure to take care of the ball.
- Take Good Shots: In the two wins against Minnesota, Oklahoma City has shot over 51% from the field both times. The Thunder are 8-1 when they shoot that well, as well as an impressive 17-2 when they shoot at least 47%. It should come as no surprise that there is a direct correlation between high-percentage shooting and winning games, so if the Thunder can shoot as well tonight as they did in the the first two meetings with the Timberwolves, then they should have no trouble coming away with a victory.
Article written by Zack Low. Follow @TheThunderGuys on Twitter and Instagram.