Well, let’s see. The Thunder had won twelve straight; they’d beaten the Timberwolves twelve consecutive times. What were the chances they’d pull off a pair of thirteens? After going down 30-18 in the first quarter, slim, diminishing to none in the fourth after J. J. Barea, having made his case for Sixth Man of the Year, decided to try for an Academy Award in special effects, doing a flop that could only be recreated in CGI. Kevin Durant bought the flop, raised a fuss, drew a tech, and then Barea missed the free throw. By then, though, it was too late: the Thunder were erratic all night, and the T-Wolves methodically disposed of them, 99-93.
Object lesson: contrast Kevin Love with Russell Westbrook, formerly teammates at UCLA. Love’s line: 28 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists, one turnover, 9-20 from the floor. Westbrook’s: 30 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists, eight turnovers, 9-28 from the floor. Sums it up nicely. Want more? Barea finished with 18, nine in the fourth quarter. The OKC bench had seven for the entire game: four from Reggie Jackson, three from Eric Maynor, who not incidentally were the only Thunder players to finish the night as high as +1. (Kevin Martin was out with a contusion.) Durant had a semi-sparkling 33, but clearly that wasn’t enough.
So the high point of the game, perhaps, was seeing Ricky Rubio, declared recovered but still limited to under 20 minutes, work his particular brand of magic. He didn’t make any of his three shots, but he grabbed three boards, served up three assists, and pulled off a steal. Heaven help us when he’s healthy.
And really, wouldn’t you rather have your winning streak broken by Minnesota than by Miami? Oh, you wouldn’t?