Timberwolves fall to Thunder
OKLAHOMA CITY — Remember the last time the Minnesota Timberwolves played at Oklahoma City?
It certainly wasn't anything like the Thunder's 109-92 victory at Ford Center on Friday night.
The Wolves last visited in last season's opening month, and they won on Mike Miller's buzzer-beater from the corner.
Just how long ago was that?
Well, Miller was still a Timberwolf, Wolves forward Damien Wilkins played for Oklahoma City and the Thunder was off to a 3-29 season start that it has completed reversed this season.
"I remember," said Thunder head coach Scott Brooks, who was an assistant coach to P.J. Carlesimo back then. "Damien Wilkins overplays that in the left corner, (Miller) took two dribbles and I wasn't happy."
He is now, or perhaps as much as any NBA head coach can be.
At this pace, the Thunder — now 35-23 and owner of a nine-game winning streak that ended Tuesday against Phoenix — will flirt with 50 victories one season after it won 23 games.
Perhaps most telling is this: The Thunder brought a two-game losing streak (Phoenix, San Antonio) into Friday's game, and Brooks answered questions from his local media as though the sky had almost just fallen.
"I like the fact that people have expectations," Brooks said. "Our group has high expectations to play hard every night and play passionate basketball for each other."
This time, the Thunder took care of the visitors almost right from the beginning, with a 30-19 lead after one quarter, a 55-41 lead by halftime and an advantage that grew to as many as 25 points in the third quarter.
The Thunder is 3-0 against the Wolves this season, but it had won the first two games by two points each.
Thunder All-Star forward Kevin Durant scored 25 points one game after his streak of 25-point games ended at 29 — the longest since Michael Jordan during the 1986-87 season — in Wednesday's loss at San Antonio.
Russell Westbrook came within two rebounds of his third career triple double, and his second against the Wolves in five days. He had 18 points, 15 assists and eight rebounds on a night when the best the Wolves could do was former college teammate Kevin Love's 19 points off the bench.
The game became an official blowout when Oklahoma City rookie Byron Mullens — the Ohio State Buckeye formerly known as B.J. — made a rare appearance late in the game and Wolves coach Kurt Rambis briefly had three Europeans — Darko Milicic, Sasha Pavlovic and Oleksiy Pecherov — on the floor together.
Brewer still on target
Corey Brewer's second-quarter three-pointer extended his franchise-record consecutive-game streak to 24.
Darko Milicic played 25 minutes and had six points and nine rebounds in his fourth game as a Timberwolf.