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News » Timberwolves-Thunder Preview

Timberwolves-Thunder Preview

Timberwolves-Thunder Preview
Almost 19 years ago, the Seattle SuperSonics prevented the Minnesota Timberwolves from winning their first NBA game.

Minnesota will try to return the favor on Sunday in Oklahoma City when it faces the Thunder franchise that relocated from Seattle during the offseason.

While their franchise's first regular-season game - a 106-94 loss at Seattle on Nov. 3, 1989 - is just a memory, the Timberwolves' 95-85 loss to Dallas on Saturday is not.

Coming off a 98-96 win against Sacramento on Wednesday where it held off a fourth-quarter rally, Minnesota (1-1) couldn't put together one of their own against the Mavericks.

Rashad McCants, who scored 18 points in 27 minutes off the bench, sank two free throws with 11:41 left to pull the Wolves within 67-65, but Dallas scored 13 of the next 17 points and never relinquished the lead.

"It's just a matter of trusting at both ends of the floor," Minnesota coach Randy Wittman said. "And when we do that, we're pretty good. And when we don't, we look really, really bad."

The Wolves' Al Jefferson posted his second straight double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds, but rookie Kevin Love followed his 12-point, nine-rebound NBA debut with nine points and three rebounds in 23 minutes.

Minnesota outrebounded Dallas 42-38, and for a period beginning in the late-first quarter, scored 36 consecutive points in the lane or at the foul line.

"In the half court we did a good job, then in transition, that's where we lost the game," said power forward Ryan Gomes.

The Thunder (0-2) can also pinpoint where they lost 89-77 to Houston on Saturday night - at the free throw line and beyond the arc.

Houston was 27-of-31 from the foul line while Oklahoma City took only 12 free throws, making nine.

"All game they did a good job of getting to the free-throw line," Thunder coach P.J. Carlesimo said. "You can't spot this good a team that much of an advantage on the free-throw line."

Oklahoma City missed all four of its 3-point attempts against the Rockets. The Thunder went 1-for-6 from long distance in their season-opening loss to Milwaukee.

Kevin Durant made 11-of-20 from the floor and scored 26 points, but had a difficult matchup with new Rocket Ron Artest, who praised the reigning Rookie of the Year.

"Sometimes you've got to treat Kevin Durant like he's Michael Jordan," Artest said.

Durant averaged 17.0 points against Minnesota last season.

The Timberwolves defeated the SuperSonics 121-116 on March 14 in their final game against Seattle.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: November 2, 2008


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