OKLAHOMA CITY - Kevin Durant scored 26 points to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to a convincing 106-84 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday at the Chesapeake Energy Arena. The three-time scoring champion shot 10-for-17 from the field to go along with eight rebounds, three assists, three steals and four blocked shots. The win moved the Thunder (27-8) to 18-3 at home this season. Missing two starters, Minnesota got 18 points from Alexey Shved while Nikola Pekovic added 17 points and 10 rebounds. The Timberwolves (16-16) kept the game tight for a half, but the Thunder seemingly learned a lesson from its loss to Washington Monday and pulled away in the third and fourth quarters. Oklahoma City forced 18 turnovers and held the Timberwolves to 43 percent shooting from the field. Russell Westbrook collected 23 points, seven assists and eight rebounds for the Thunder. Kevin Martin came off the bench to chip in with 19 points, including going 4-for-7 from behind the arc. Coming off Oklahoma City's loss to the Wizards, Thunder coach Scott Brooks had wanted his team to come out and put its foot down on the injury-riddled Timberwolves from the very start. It didn't work out that way as the teams were tied at 16-16 when the first quarter ended. Pekovic was a force for Minnesota early on. He pounded the glass and pulled down five rebounds to go along with six points in the first 12 minutes. Durant and the Oklahoma City bench came out running in the second quarter and helped push the lead into double digits. But Shved and Andrei Kirilenko spearheaded a 12-2 run to tie the game at 42-42 with less than a minute left in the half. The Thunder scored the final five points to take a 47-42 lead into halftime. NOTES: Minnesota coach Rick Adelman missed his second straight game due to personal reasons. Assistant coach Terry Porter served as acting head coach. ... Minnesota's Kevin Love is expected to miss 8-10 weeks after he undergoes surgery on his right hand next week. The All-Star forward broke his hand last week in a game against Denver. It was the same hand he broke in the preseason that forced him to miss the start of the season. Love averaged 18.3 points and 14 rebounds in only 18 games. ... Since losing the backup point guard spot to Reggie Jackson, Oklahoma City's Eric Maynor has played a total of 15 minutes in the past nine games. That includes five games in which he did not play ... With J.J. Barea missing the game Wednesday, the Timberwolves have had players miss 116 games due to injury or illness while Oklahoma City has had the same starting lineup the entire season. "They do a good job of keeping those guys healthy," Porter said. "I don't know how they do it, but we need to get their phone number and see if we can apply to us. I don't recall every facing anything like this with the teams I've been on. It's weird. But the league goes on; we will just have to continue to compete."
Thunder 106, Timberwolves 86By Michael Kinney, The Sports Xchange | The SportsXchange – Wed, Jan 9, 2013 10:40 PM EST
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