- When: Friday, 27 October 2017 at 7:00 pm CST
- Where: Target Center, Minneapolis, MN
- TV: NBATV/FSOK
- Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1 FM, 640 AM, 930 AM (Spanish))
- Line: OKC -1.5 | O/U – 218
A lot has been made about the Big 3 in Oklahoma City. And deservedly so. Anytime you combine a current MVP with two prolific wing scorers, it’s bound to draw a lot of attention. The results after four games can be summed up in three words: Work In Progress.
But lost in all the attention the Big 3 are garnering has been the play of fifth year center, Steven Adams. Four games in, Adams is averaging 13.8 points, 8.5 rebounds (5 on the offensive end!!!!), 2 steals, and 1.75 blocks per game. He’s starting to “call his own number” when he spots a mismatch on offense, and is anchoring a defense that ranks 5th in the league in defensive rating. If those defensive numbers continue, Adams may be in contention for defensive player of the year, a la Marc Gasol in 2013.
And the beautiful thing is this may just be getting started. Teams aren’t going to start collapsing into the lane at the risk of leaving Carmelo Anthony and Paul George alone on the perimeter. Those two players will always get the superstar treatment from defenses when compared to Adams. If Adams can maintain this consistency throughout the season, the Big 3 may eventually become a fearsome foursome.
Season Series Summary
This is the 2nd meeting of the season between these Northwest Division rivals. The Timberwolves won the first meeting on a Andrew Wiggins 3-point buzzer beater, 115-113. As the Last Two Minute (L2M) report stated the next day, the shot should have been wiped out because of an illegal Karl-Anthony Towns screen. Alas, the L2M report doesn’t change the results of the game, so the Thunder will be looking to even the season series in this game.
- Oklahoma City – None
- Minnesota – Justin Patton (foot)
Three Big Things
1. Defending the Others
KAT, Wiggins, and Jimmy Butler are all great players in their own respect. They are all expected to get there’s. But if you want to beat a team with three guys capable of scoring 20+ points in a game, you have to limit the other players, like Jeff Teague, Taj Gibson, Jamal Crawford, and Gorgui Dieng. Combined, those four players scored 40 points the last time these two teams met. The Thunder essentially contained Butler in their last game, but let Gibson and Teague make up the slack.
2. Attack the Paint
For as good as Minnesota could potentially be defensively, there is still something that is holding them back. That thing could be the fact that Towns and Dieng aren’t that good at protecting the rim. Minnesota allows nearly 50 points per game in the paint, which puts them at 24th in the league. If Westbrook continues to play like he has the last five quarters, then the Thunder should be able to attack the paint and get some easy scores.
3. Patrick Patterson
He seems to be getting his land legs back. He played 17 minutes in his last game and looked a lot more active than in the previous three. He scored his first basket of the season, a corner 3, and chipped in with 3 rebounds and 2 assists. If he is able to get back into the swing of things, and play like he did the last couple seasons in Toronto, the Thunder may have just unearthed another weapon for their small-ball lineups.