Tim's Game Preview: Game 73, Oklahoma City Thunder (2011-2012 Edition)


Hey, he said that the rebuilding process would take 3-4 years. It's only year 2.

Minnesota Timberwolves (17-55) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (46-24) at OKC Arena

Come to think of it, that's brilliant job security. If you tell someone when you're hired that your project will take 3-4 years, then how can they fire you in year two? After all, you're only halfway through and maybe all of the good stuff comes in years 3 and 4. The same has to be said about David Kahn, right?

Unfortunately for the fans, they still have to play the games in seasons 1 and 2 and the results have not always been pretty. Some of are getting curious to figure out what next year will look like and what we can expect from our team. To that end, I'm going to picture this game preview as if it were next season. Who will be in our starting lineup? How well will we be playing?

Let's break down the matchups:


DeAndre Jordan vs. Kendrick Perkins

After Los Angeles Clippers' owner Donald Sterling refused to match the Minnesota Timberwolves' offer of $2,000,000 over 10 years, DeAndre Jordan joined the Timberwolves and has been shotblocking force all season. Darko Milicic retired from basketball following the '10-'11 season and began an acting career. He is currently lined up to play Stanley Kowalski in a local community theatre production of A Streetcar Named Desire.

Due to his wonderful friendships with Michael Beasley (see above) and other players on the team, chemistry is at an all-time high, as are shot blocking and air-balled free throws. Kendrick Perkins will have his hands full tonight.

Winner: DeAndre Jordan



Kevin Love vs. Serge Ibaka

With all of the added talent and firepower on this team, Kevin Love has had to score less and has been able to focus on rebounding. He has upped his averaged to 22.3 rebounds per game (10.4 offensive) and has already had three 40+ rebound games this season. He has also signed a 6 year extension with the team at his current salary, since he said, "I care more about winning than I care about money."

Against Serge Ibaka, a lengthy shotblocker, Love should excel. Could he potentially break the 50-rebound mark in a game? Could he outrebound the entire Thunder team?

Winner: Kevin Love



Derrick Williams vs. Kevin Durant

The Timberwolves were awarded the #2 overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft and selected Derrick Williams, the forward out of Arizona. While he played power forward in college, Williams has been moved over to the 3-spot with the Wolves and has turned into a grittier version of Danny Granger. His high-flying dunks have wowed Target Center and he is currently the leading candidate for this season's Rookie of the Year award.

Williams will match up against Kevin Durant tonight and finds a tremendous strength advantage against the Durantula. Williams should be able to body Durant and not let him get any easy points inside the paint.

Winner: Derrick Williams



Kobe Bryant vs. Thabo Sefolosha

After the Los Angeles Lakers won their third straight trophy, Phil Jackson retired and the Lakers hired coach Kurt Rambis away from the Minnesota Timberwolves. Disgusted with the hire, Kobe Bryant demanded a trade and GM Mitch Kupcheck sent Kobe to Minnesota for Jonny Flynn, Martell Webster, Lazar Hayward and the rights to Paulo Prestes.

Sparked by the trade, Kobe has won two "Player of the Month" awards and is currently third in the MVP voting behind Derrick Rose and Blake Griffin. Kobe takes on Thabo Sefolosha tonight, who has played well Kobe in the past. We'll see who gets the better of the matchup tonight.

Winner: Kobe Bryant


Ricky Rubio vs. Russell Westbrook

After seeing the selection of Williams and the trade for Bryant, Ricky Rubio immediately called his agent and said that he wanted to play for the Wolves in the upcoming season. Rubio has not disappointed. While he only takes 5 shots a game, on average, Rubio is dishing out close to 12 assists per contest. Rubio would be in the running for Rookie of the Year also, if it were not for his teammate.

Against Russell Westbrook, Rubio finds a difficult matchup who he will have to contain on the defensive end. While Westbrook's speed may be an issue, Rubio's passing should take apart the Thunder defense.

Winner: Ricky Rubio



Player/Coach Michael Beasley jokes with other players during practice. Rick Adelman, Jim Boeheim and Pat Summitt were hired as Beasley's assistants.

My Prediction: Timberwolves 118 - Oklahoma City Thunder 99

Timberwolves' Record: 62-10

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