Oklahoma City 88, Minnesota 85, and as you might guess, there were scary moments, particularly during the third quarter while the T-Wolves rolled up a 12-point lead. Not to worry. With three minutes left in the quarter and Minnesota up 71-61, the Thunder ran off a 9-2 run, which became 13-2 in the first two minutes of the final frame. There were nine lead changes in all, but the only one that mattered was the last one at the 2:19 mark, when Westbrook drove to the basket after an Al Jefferson putback which turned out to be the last Minnesota points. With 16 seconds left, the T-Wolves read the offense and closed off Kevin Durant, whereupon Nick Collison tossed in a left-handed hook to ice the deal; Minnesota got two looks but didn’t get to finish either.
The Thunder are still not shooting wonderfully, but 42 percent was a definite improvement. What they did do was own the boards: they outrebounded the Wolves 50-38, including 19 off the offensive glass. We’re talking some serious second-chance points here. And double figures were very much in evidence, with Durant snagging 18, Russell Westbrook 14, Jeff Green 13 (he finally got a trey), Chris Wilcox 12, and Collison turning in a double-double: 10 points, 10 rebounds.
Meanwhile, Jefferson was his usual hyperefficient self, with 24 points and 13 boards. Outside threat Ryan Gomes had 12, including two of three from downtown; he came this close to getting one more at the very end, which would have tied the game, but Durant pulled it away. The official horn was held up briefly while the instant-replay boffins checked to see if there had been a foul; they decided there hadn’t. This was the second time in the game that they went to the cameras, the first being at the end of the third quarter, when Desmond Mason hit a prodigiously-long jumper that just had to be a trey. It wasn’t.
So it’s 1-2, which, if extrapolated to the entire season, would be something like 28-54. Not that there’s time to think about such things: the Celtics are due in town on Wednesday.