Takeaways from OKC’s Chippy Loss to Minnesota


In a game that ended in an OKC loss, there were hints of a prize fight. The game was tight more than a dozen ties and lead changes throughout. As the Thunder and Timberwolves went back and forth, tempers began to boil.

The teams combined for 53 fouls– 11 above league average. Naturally, the division rivals shared a few shoves throughout the game– but tonight was different. After Nerlens Noel went down with an elbow to the face leading to a few unconscious seconds under the basket, the game’s energy shifted.

The crowd fell silent as everyone in Chesapeake Energy Arena waited for any sign of relief from Noel. Shortly after gaining consciousness, he was stretchered out of the building.

On the next possession, the shoves continued with Dennis Schröder and Jeff Teague trading elbows after a Thunder basket. Those elbows turned to words and a Teague ejection after three technicals were assessed to Schroder and Teague late in the quarter.

A 14-4 run late in the 4th couldn’t give OKC the necessary momentum to close out the game. A clutch three from Josh Okogie sealed the game for Minnesota. Even a late turnover by Tyus Jones wasn’t enough to turn the tide.

The Good

In light of the Thunder’s struggles, they had their moments. Efficiency was the name of the game for OKC. The team shot 40% from the three-point line on 30 attempts, higher than their averages.

The Thunder’s big three came together for a combined 72 points (20 from Steven Adams, 25 from Russell Westbrook, and 27 from Paul George). Terrance Ferguson was perfect from the three-point line leading to a season-high 14 points.

The Bad

A big reason for Tuesday’s loss was the 15 offensive rebounds the Timberwolves grabbed. The Thunder have given up a combined 31 offensive rebounds over the past two games. They’ve eclipsed their average offensive rebounds allowed of 10.4 once again.

Even more alarming, OKC loss the turnover battle 16 to 10. The Thunder didn’t display their normal control on the defensive end, totaling only four steals on the night. They allowed five Timberwolves players to reach double figures, including a highly efficient 40 points from Andrew Wiggins.

Next Up

OKC’s next game will be away against the San Antonio Spurs. They’ll need to return to the defensive powerhouse we’ve seen this season to leave the River Walk with a win.


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