MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — With Russell Westbrook sitting out for a initial time this season, Oklahoma City manager Billy Donovan pronounced he only wanted to see his immature purpose players play good though a core of a Thunder star on a floor.
Victor Oladipo, Domantas Sabonis and a rest of a Russ-less Thunder did him one better.
Oladipo scored 20 points and strike a jumper with 6.3 seconds to play to lift a Thunder to a 100-98 feat over a Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night.
“Because he was out tonight we was only perplexing to take a small bit of that role, that care purpose and lead by instance and lead with my mouth as well,” Oladipo said. “It was good. It was a good knowledge for everybody, including myself.”
Oladipo also had 9 rebounds and 6 assists, and a Thunder outrebounded Minnesota 54-35. Starters Taj Gibson and Andre Roberson also sat out as a Thunder prepared for a first-round array opposite Houston. Sabonis combined 19 points and 9 rebounds.
Karl-Anthony Towns had 26 points and 12 rebounds, while Andrew Wiggins overcame a 1-for-11 start to finish with 18 points for a Minnesota. But a Timberwolves again struggled to get stops down a widen and Wiggins missed a 3-pointer during a buzzer as they mislaid their fifth true game.
“Whatever your resources are, you’ve got to be prepared to go,” Wolves manager Tom Thibodeau said. “That’s a approach it is. So we had a prolonged highway trip, we come home and we’ve got to be ready.”
After consulting with Donovan and a team’s medical staff, Westbrook done a preference to rest for a initial time this season. He was one of only 6 players in a joining to have started each game. But after a break-neck year in that he pennyless Oscar Robertson’s record for many triple-doubles in a deteriorate and helped a Thunder spin a page after Kevin Durant left for Golden State, a many relentless actor in a joining finally took a night off.
Fellow starters Gibson and Roberson also took a night off, though a rest of a group took it to a Wolves in a initial half. A 19-2 run in a initial entertain helped OKC build a 22-point lead.
After phenomenon a new trademark during halftime, Minnesota outscored Oklahoma City 29-15 in a third entertain to burst behind in front.
“We had a lead,” Thibodeau said. “All we had to do was get stops.”
Oladipo’s 3-pointer with 2:40 to go gave a Thunder a 97-93 lead, though Minnesota responded with 5 true points, including Gorgui Dieng’s dilemma jumper to go adult 98-97 with 44 seconds to play. But Oladipo responded with his 21-footer, and Westbrook was a initial one off a dais to hail him as a Thunder distinguished a confidence-building win.
“Never mind a outcome, though can we do a things that we know what we’re going to need to do once a playoffs do start?” Donovan said. “Because if we can’t do them now, we can’t design them to do it in a playoffs.”
Thunder: Donovan pronounced he would have serve contention with Westbrook before determining if he will play in a regular-season culmination during home on Wednesday opposite Denver. … The Thunder also were personification though Doug McDermott (left knee soreness). … Norris Cole had 12 points off a bench.
Timberwolves: Towns surpassed Kevin Love in a initial entertain to set a authorization record for points in a season. … The Wolves announced a throng of 19,356, a initial sellout of a home culmination given 1998. … Dieng had 19 points and 8 rebounds.
Thunder sharpshooter Alex Abrines missed a prior 3 games with a sprained left knee, though was pointy in his lapse on Tuesday night. He strike his initial dual 3s and finished with 6 points in 16 minutes.
Abrines pronounced it was critical for him to get a integrate of games underneath his belt before a playoffs start.
“I need some rhythm,” he pronounced before a game.
Thunder: Oklahoma City heads behind home for one final regular-season diversion opposite Denver on Wednesday night.
Timberwolves: Minnesota flies to Houston to finish the deteriorate on Wednesday night.