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Timberwolves 100, Thunder 81

The SportsXchange

MINNEAPOLIS -- In Wednesday's opener, the Minnesota Timberwolves built a 17-point lead but still needed overtime to win. That wasn't a problem on Friday night.

Playing team defense and getting scoring up and down the lineup, the Timberwolves beat up Oklahoma City 100-81 at Target Center, starting their season 2-0 for just the fourth time in franchise history.

Kevin Love, who scored 31 points on Wednesday, had 24 points and 12 rebounds against the Thunder. Point guard Ricky Rubio (14 points, 10 assists) also had a double-double, as did center Nikola Pekovic (15 points, 10 rebounds).

The Wolves build a 20-point halftime lead and then used an 11-3 run to end the third quarter to push the lead to 28 entering the fourth quarter.

But even more impressive was the Minnesota defense. Corey Brewer did the heavy lifting in a team effort against Kevin Durant, who was held to 13 points. It was the fewest points he has scored in a regular-season game since getting 12 on Dec. 31, 2011 against Phoenix. He was 4 of 11 -- 1 of 5 on 3-pointers, with four turnovers before sitting out the fourth quarter.

Jeremy Lamb scored 16 points off the bench for the Thunder.

Minnesota had the edge in points in the paint (44-20) and on the fast break (17-2) over the Thunder, which had won its opener at Utah on Wednesday. The Wolves turned 21 Thunder turnovers into 25 points.

Minnesota, which led by as many as 34 points, also got double-figure scoring off the bench from Derrick Williams (10) and J.J. Barea (10).

Taking a cue from the opener, the Wolves came out smoking while scoring 34 first-quarter points. Pekovic had eight points and Love and Brewer each scored seven for the Wolves, who turned six Thunder turnovers into 11 points to build a lead as big as 18 points before Nick Collison hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Leading 21-13, the Wolves, taking advantage of Durant sitting with two fouls went on a 13-3 run. Love scored five points in the spurt that gave the Wolves a 34-16 lead before Collison's jumper.

Minnesota ended the half on a 21-11 run in which seven players scored to make it 59-39. The Wolves had a 19-0 edge on points off turnovers.

The third quarter ended much the same way, with the Wolves on a 11-3 run.

NOTES: Durant joked Friday morning that he feels like "I'm part of the city a little bit." Why? Because he traveled to Minneapolis occasionally last summer to watch fiance Monica Wright, who plays for the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx. ... Durant and Love worked out together in Los Angeles during the summer -- the two share the same basketball-skills coach, Rob McClanaghan. ... Wolves coach Rick Adelman said Williams would have his chance after not playing in the opener. Williams played early and often vs. the Thunder. ... Adelman said Brewer will remain the starting small forward for the foreseeable future. ... Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said Durant has become even more of a leader with Russell Westbrook injured. "He's been incredible, his leadership," Brooks said. "Chemistry and leadership is very important for success in the NBA and Kevin has done a great job leading us." ... Wolves backup C Rony Turiaf left the game in the second quarter with a right elbow contusion after a hard fall to the floor.
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