Pity the poor fools who watched lousy NCAA tournament basketball instead Friday night.
All they missed televised live from Chesapeake Energy Arena instead was Oklahoma City's 149-140 double-overtime victory over the Timberwolves in which Kevin Love scored a franchise-record 51 points and J.J. Barea delivered the team's first triple-double since Kevin Garnett did it in 2007. They still somehow flew home after 13 days on the road losers for the fifth time in the trip's seven games.
"I'm still not sure how that happened," Wolves forward Anthony Tolliver said.
It happened mostly because Thunder MVP candidate Kevin Durant and All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook refused to let the Western Conference's best team go quietly into the Southern spring night.
Durant scored 40 points and Westbrook 45 and the Thunder outlasted a Wolves team missing starters Ricky Rubio and Nikola Pekovic and bench scorer Michael Beasley on a night when coach Rick Adelman worried that his players might be ready to go home after such a long trip with one night's work still remaining.
"I feel really bad for our guys," Adelman said afterward. "They couldn't have played harder."
Love surpassed Garnett's previous franchise scoring record of 47 by making a career-high seven three-pointers, five of them in the first half. He scored 30 of those 51 after halftime and 12 in the fourth quarter alone, when he forced overtime by answering Durant's dramatic go-ahead three-pointer with one of his own from directly in front of the Thunder bench with one second left in regulation time.
Kevin Love's 51-point night not enough as Wolves fall to Thunder in two OTs
Minneapolis Star Tribune | Mar 24