Tim's Game Preview: Game 45, Oklahoma City Thunder


The good old days, the good old days. Everybody's talking about the good old days.

Minnesota Timberwolves (10-34) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (28-16) at Target Center

I never had a problem with the SuperSonics moving out of Seattle. Sure, it was sad for Sonics fans, but in my opinion, relocation happens in sports and should be expected. I did have a problem, however, with the Sonics moving to Oklahoma City.

I'm of the opinion that every NBA team should relocate within the borders of Minnesota.

Imagine an NBA featuring the Duluth Lakers, the Bemidji Celtics and the Alexandria Jazz. The Raptors can move to International Falls to maintain some of that Canadian feel. The Heat can go to Blue Earth or another southern Minnesota location.

There were plenty of great locations for the Sonics in Minnesota. They could play at the Xcel Energy Center. Maybe the St. Cloud Convention Center. Maybe put up some bleachers and have them play at the Plymouth Lifetime Fitness.

Tonight, they'll get a taste of Minnesota when they visit the Timberwolves. Let's break down tonight's matchups:


After tonight, you're not going to be able to show your face back in Europe, Nenad.

Darko Milicic vs. Nenad Krstic

I wonder what its like inside the mind of a man who is about to go up against Darko Milicic. Is it more like being in the waiting room of a dentist's office right before a root canal or like being inside of the holding cell of a prison right before a lethal injection? I'd say the former, because unlike death row, you have to live with the pain and agony of getting owned by Darko.

To get an answer to my question, I should just ask Nenad Krstic. Last time they matched up, Darko dropped 21 on Nenad. This time - now that he knows he can't be stopped - I think Darko could go for 25 and 15. You better bring the double team, Scotty.

Winner: Darko Milicic


No one takes Kevin's rebounds. You ever wonder why Big Al and Ryan Hollins were shipped out this offseason?

Kevin Love vs. Jeff Green

It's easy to get 20 rebounds. There's nothing to it. The media is just making a big deal out of nothing.

That's the story, anyway. Jeff Green might be able to grab 20 rebounds if he was in a gym by himself, but that's only because he's such a bad shooter. Serge Ibaka will get plenty of chances to rebound after his misses 18 attempts in a row, like Nate Robinson, during this year's slam dunk contest. Clay Bennett might have been able to get some Sonics' fans on the rebound after stealing their franchise.

Kevin Love gets so many rebounds, no one even pays attention anymore. They aren't flashy like a Blake Griffin dunk, so Griffin makes SportsCenter and Love gets stuck on highlights that are only shown on ESPN4 and ESPN Deportes. Like I said in a past column, he's single-handedly made the double-double ordinary.

Jeff Green isn't even good enough to be ordinary.

Winner: Kevin Love



Given our history with #2 picks, we might have a roster spot available for Kevin Durant.

Michael Beasley vs. Kevin Durant

Kevin, we're over you. You're not the up-and-coming superstar anymore. You're just another high-scoring All-Star who has yet to do anything in the playoffs. Don't me wrong. You're a decent player. But your hype is gone. Now, you have to produce when it counts.

Michael Beasley has already shown us that he's clutch. The Clipper game. The Cavaliers game. Two tough opponents in late game situations. Despite what some people might have you think, long-range 2's are some of the most efficient shots in basketball and Beasley is smart for taking them. Take a step forward and he's in traffic. Take a step backwards and that's traveling. But stay at mid-range and Beasley's got a wide open shot.

Swish. Buckets. Win.

Thank you, Beasley, for making us all forget about Kevin Durant.

Winner: Michael Beasley


You know what they say. If you can't beat 'em...

Wesley Johnson vs. Thabo Sefolosha

Wesley Johnson responded to a DNP-CD with a great performance against the Houston Rockets. Off of the bench, Wes scored 19 points, had 4 assists, took 3 steals and blocked 2 shots. He fouled out towards the end but it was nice to see that type of energy from Wes. Hopefully, Rambis rewards him by inserting Johnson back into the starting lineup.

Thabo Sefolosha and James Harden will only be able to stop Wes if Wes stops himself. He has the tools. If he puts the energy into his performance, the Thunder don't have a chance.

Of course, if the Wolves listened to some comments from disgruntled fans, Wes wouldn't have even been on the team to have that performance against the Rockets and he certainly wouldn't be able to start tonight. The suggestion about trading a player 43 games into his rookie season due to underperformance is usually one that is well thought out and one I would agree with, but in this case, I disagree.

I'd rather take the foolish stance of letting the team develop its rookies. It's just crazy enough to work.



What are the odds of Jonny Flynn going to another team and becoming a great point guard?

Luke Ridnour vs. Russell Westbrook

I have to apologize to Luke Ridnour. This should be his space. After all, he's the one starting tonight and he's the one who is going to lead our team to victory.

But I have to take a moment and talk about Jonny Flynn. While he has not gone to the Rashad McCants-level of hatred yet amongst Wolves' fans, he is getting booed more and more by fans and is looked down upon as someone unworthy of a roster spot.

Of course, I'd always thought that the job of a fan is to cheer on a team's players as long as those players are giving an acceptable amount of effort on the court. But what do I know? Maybe it is more productive for a team to complain about Flynn and pine after players who aren't on our team like a scorned lover who takes out his jealousy on a current spouse. Steph Curry isn't coming to the Timberwolves, and frankly, I'm glad he's not.

We already have Jonny Flynn. J-Fly. And until he's not on our team anymore, he'll always be one of my 14 favorite players in the league.

Winner: Jonny Flynn



It's not just Daryl Morey. David Kahn is a better GM than Sam Presti, too.

My Prediction: Timberwolves 98 - Oklahoma City Thunder 87

Timberwolves' Record: 11-34

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