MINNEAPOLIS – If you’re still on an adrenaline hangover from Thursday night’s Timberwolves upset of the Thunder, there’s no need to stop thinking about Minnesota’s best game thus far this season. Here’s a closer look at the 99-93 win by the numbers:
12 games: The win snapped the Thunder’s 12-game winning streak and their 12-game winning streak over the Timberwolves.
6.8 points: The Timberwolves’ 12 losses against the Thunder came by an average margin of 6.8 points and included two overtime games (one of which went to double overtime) and five games in which Oklahoma City’s margin of victory was five or fewer points.
40.2 percent: The Thunder shot 40.2 percent Thursday night, a marked difference from their season average of 48.1 percent. They went into the game leading the NBA in field-goal shooting (49.5 percent) and points per game (105.6).
Four 3-pointers: Kevin Love made four 3-pointers, shooting 44.4 percent from long range on the night. In 13 games before Thursday, he’d made a total of just 14 3-point shots, and he went into the night shooting just 21.9 percent from beyond the arc.
12 points: Alexey Shved snapped his dry spell Thursday night, shooting 50 percent from the field with 12 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds, just three boards from a triple-double. Before the game, Rick Adelman brushed off concerns about Shved’s past two performances, a two-point night in Miami and a three-point night in Orlando, saying that the rookie had come in and done individual work with player development coach David Adelman on Wednesday. As has been the norm this season, Shved rewarded his coach’s confidence.
“We’re putting him in a situation that he probably shouldn’t be in,” Adelman said of Shved. “We didn’t envision him starting about Dwayne Wade. We tried to talk to him about that and about how they’ve had three days off and Dwayne Wade is going to come after you. He’s the typical rookie: he went after him, and he was looking at the officials and everyone else to help him.”
22.5 ppg: Nikola Pekovic had 24 points Thursday and is now averaging 22.5 points in his last six games. He’s shooting 55.8 percent from the field over that time, and with his ankle finally back to full health, the center seems back on track.
20 assists: The Timberwolves’ 20 assists in the first quarter were just five fewer than the franchise record for most assists in a half, which was set on April 13, 2003 against the Bulls, with Kevin Garnett dishing seven assists and Troy Hudson 14 on the night.
13-11: The Timberwolves’ record puts them at sixth in the Western Conference, seven games behind Oklahoma City and three games behind the fifth-best team, Golden State. It’s their best start since 2005-06, and a win in New York on Sunday would put them at their best start 2004-05, the franchise’s last winning season.