Minnesota Timberwolves (1-1 SU, 0-2 ATS, 1-0-1 O/U) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS, 0-1 O/U)
NBA: Sunday, October 22, 2017, Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 7 pm ET
Line: Oklahoma City -5; Over/Under: 210.5
It’s a matchup of Northwest Division foes on the hardwood. The Minnesota Timberwolves are on the road as they battle with the revamped Oklahoma City Thunder Sunday night. Minnesota broke into the win column as they beat Utah 100-97 at home Friday night. Oklahoma City was in action Saturday night on the road against the Jazz: they drubbed the Knicks 105-84 in their season opener Thursday night at home. The Thunder has dominated the regular season series by an 80-30 margin and took three of four meetings last season, including a 100-98 road win in the last matchup on April 11.
Minnesota Timberwolves Seek Second Straight Division Triumph
Minnesota had their ups and downs against a tough defensive team in the Jazz but managed to do just enough to come away with the win. The Timberwolves struggled offensively most of the night, scoring 46 points in the first half and 70 after three quarters before scoring 30 in the fourth. Minnesota shrugged off 44.4 percent shooting from the floor and going 7 of 22 from three point range. The Timberwolves forced 19 Utah turnovers and prevailed at the free throw line: they were 21 of 26 to the Jazz’s 14 of 17 showing. Andrew Wiggins had 21 points to lead the Timberwolves in the victory.
The Timberwolves come into this game tied for 25th in scoring with 99.5 points a game. Minnesota is tied for 20th in rebounding with 43 boards a night and 24th in assists by dishing out 20 dimes per contest. The Timberwolves are 12th in scoring defense as they allow 102 points per game. Andrew Wiggins leads Minnesota with 23.5 points plus five boards a game. Karl-Anthony Towns averages 19 points plus 11.5 rebounds, Jamal Crawford adds 13.5 points a night, Jimmy Butler kicks in 12.5 points and 5.5 rebounds while Jeff Teague adds 10.5 points plus five assists a contest. Minnesota has to get production from Gorgui Dieng, Shabazz Muhammad, Taj Gibson, Tyus Jones and Nemanja Bjelica if they want to be a threat for the postseason. The Timberwolves are 18th in the league in field goal percentage as the team shoots 44 percent from the floor. Minnesota is 27th in the league in threes with 7.5 per game and is 15th in the league in three point shooting as they’ve hit 36.6 percent of their attempts from downtown.
Oklahoma City Thunder Playing Second Game of Back to Back
Oklahoma City plays their second game of a back to back here against divisional opponents as they faced a Utah team playing the back end of their own two game in two night odyssey Saturday night. The Thunder went just 5-10 in the second game of a back to back last season, shooting a collective 42.6 percent from the floor and a miserable 31.6 percent from beyond the arc in those contests. Oklahoma City averaged 100.4 points in those games while allowing 107.7, giving them a -7.3 point differential in those outings. The Thunder was 10-6 against the Northwest Division a season ago, scoring 106.9 points a game in those contests.
Against the Knicks, the new look Thunder didn’t face much in the way of obstacles. Oklahoma City led by three after the opening quarter before seizing control. The Thunder outscored the Knicks 52-35 combined in the second and third quarters to take a 20 point edge entering the fourth. The new look trio for Oklahoma City got things done in their team debut as a unit: Paul George led the way with 28 points. Carmelo Anthony had 22 points against his former team while reigning MVP Russell Westbrook picked up where he left off last season with a triple-double: he posted 21 points, 10 rebounds and 16 assists. Steven Adams contributed 12 points but the Thunder will need more from their reserves: they contributed just 16 points in the game.
- Timberwolves are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 vs. Western Conference
- Timberwolves are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 vs. NBA Northwest
- Timberwolves are 1-10 ATS in their last 11 games playing on 1 day of rest
- Thunder are 21-7 ATS in their last 28 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of less than .400
- Thunder are 14-5 ATS in their last 19 home games vs. a team with a losing road record
Minnesota ground out a win over Utah but they have a tougher task dealing with the Thunder, especially on the offensive end. Oklahoma City isn’t just Westbrook now as George and Anthony showed in the opener. Sure, there will be some fatigue with playing the second game of a back to back but the Thunder has owned Minnesota in their respective histories: Oklahoma City has taken 12 of the last 15 meetings. Minnesota has a good nucleus but it’s going to take time to fit the pieces together. Oklahoma City gets the nod at home here.