Matchup: Minnesota Timberwolves vs Oklahoma City Thunder
Records: Timberwolves (19-21), Thunder (25-14)
Where to Watch
Date: Wednesday, Jan. 9
Time: 6:30 AM IST
TV: Sony ESPN
Location: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK
The Oklahoma City Thunder are missing arguably their best defensive wing in Andre Roberson yet they have the league's best defense (101.7) powered by their All-Stars Russell Westbrook (leads the league in steals - 2.6) and Paul George (ranks 2nd in steals per game - 2.2).
They rank 20th in field goal percentage (45.4%) and dead-last in 3-point shooting (32.1%), numbers that rank their offense 19th in the league (107.4).
Westbrook also leads the league in triple-doubles (12) by averaging 21.1 points (lowest since 2010), 11.0 rebounds, and 10.1 assists. The team is playing so well despite Westbrook averaging 4.6 turnovers per game (2nd in the league), shooting 41.7% from the field (lowest since his rookie year) and making a career-low 62.3% from the free-throw line.
Imagine the potential in this team, that is already third in the West standings, once Westbrook starts taking better care of the ball and the rest of the team can start knocking down shots with better efficiency.
Meanwhile, George is having a career-year, averaging career-highs in points (26.8), rebounds (8.0), and steals (2.2).
Coming to the Minnesota Timberwolves, it's the start off a new era for the team for the second time this season.
Prior to trading Butler, the Timberwolves were 4-9 but once he was shipped to Philadelphia, the team has since gone 15-12 and has shown a lot of improvement. Yet, head coach and general manager Tom Thibodeau was fired hours after winning a game by 20+ points against the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday.
This will be interim head coach Ryan Saunders first game as the leader and it would be tremendously important for the team to send out a message with a win.
Since Butler was traded, the team has certainly shown glimpses of getting better but it's time they be consistent about it.
- Ahead of their 19th home game of the season, the Oklahoma City Thunder have won 13 of their previous 18.
- Meanwhile, the Minnesota Timberwolves are a miserable 5-15 in their previous 20 road games.
- As per reports, the Thunder will surely miss Andre Roberson (Kneecap) while Alex Abrines (personal) is said to be a game-time decision.
- For Minnesota, they are reportedly set to miss Derrick Rose (Ankle) and Robert Covington (Ankle) for this clash.
Last Time They Played
Date: Dec. 24, 2018
Score: Timberwolves 114-112 Thunder
Timberwolves: Andrew Wiggins - 30 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists on 55.0% shooting
Thunder: Russell Westbrook - 23 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists on 52.6% shooting