Joy to OKC: Thunder top Timberwolves on Christmas Day
Russell Westbrook was the gift that kept on giving on Sunday.
With 31 points, 15 assists and seven rebounds, Westbrook led the Thunder to a 112-100 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Christmas day.
This was a special day for Westbrook and the Thunder. The point guard now has five games this season with 30 points and 15 assists, the the most since Magic Johnson had 6 in 1986-87. There’s still 3 1/2 more months to go in the season. He is the third player to have a 30-point, 15-assist game on Christmas Day, joining Oscar Robertson — who did it five times — and Tiny Archibald.
“The thing is, you’re not going to be able to stop him,” Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau said, “you just try to make him work. I thought he missed some shots early that maybe he normally makes. I thought we did a good job of making him play in a crowd. And then in the second half we were a step behind, and that hurt us. We didn’t give the appropriate help, and so we left their big guys open, and you can’t do that against this team.”
“He’s the MVP leader right now,” Minnesota center Karl Anthony-Towns said.
Thunder centers Enes Kanter and Steven Adams took advantage of the opportunities provided by Westbrook by each topping 20 points. Kanter even got a little fancy during the game with a behind the back pass that described as “Magic Johnson.”
“I think the most important thing was energy,” Kanter said.
Towns led the Timberwolves with 26 points and eight rebounds. Andrew Wiggins scored 23 points. Zach LaVine scored 16 points with three three-pointers. Even Shabazz Muhammad scored a season high 15 points while Ricky Rubio led the team with 10 assists.
“We did everything we could to play them as well as possible,” LaVine said. “We had some mental absences that lost us the game.”
The Timberwolves led the Thunder 27-23 after the first quarter. The Thunder took control of the game after going into halftime with a 57-53 due to a 34-26 second quarter. The Timberwolves never got out of the hole since.
“We can’t have the same one quarter mishaps and it cost us the whole three quarters we played well,” LaVine said.
Both teams shot 33.3 percent from the three point line but the Thunder made twice as many shots which was the difference in the game.
“They hit all the shots,” LaVine said. “We had mishaps that gave them easy chances.”
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