Oklahoma City, OK, United States (4E Sports) – Kevin Durant scored 26 points and Russell Westbrook added 23 in leading the Oklahoma City Thunder past a depleted Minnesota Timberwolves 106-84 Wednesday.
Kevin Martin chipped in 19 points off the bench for the winners.
Oklahoma City used a 12-2 run to move ahead in the second quarter and stretched its lead to 24 before pulling Durant, Westbrook and the other starters with 5:44 remaining.
Nikola Pekovic was the top performer for the Timberwolves with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Derrick Williams added 14 points and a season-high 11 rebounds.
Alexey Shved was the top scorer for Minnesota with 18 points, but also had seven of Minnesota’s 19 turnovers, leading to 26 points for the Thunder and helping Oklahoma City to a 23-8 advantage in fast-break scoring.
The Thunder had a 12-game winning streak in the series snapped last month in Minnesota, 93-99, with All-Star forward Kevin Love scoring 28 points and J.J. Barea making 14 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter
This time the Timberwolves were without Love and Barea, as well as Chase Budinger, Brandon Roy and Malcolm Lee.
Love was out with an injury for the second time this season. He’ll have surgery to repair the third and fourth metacarpal in his right hand and would be sitting out for eight to 10 weeks.
He was leading the team in scoring (18.3 ppg), rebounds (14. rpg) and double-doubles (14).
But Oklahoma City left nothing to chance as it lost its last game against a last-place Washington team saddled by injuries to its top three players.