Oklahoma City Thunder at Minnesota Timberwolves Game Preview

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA song and dance returns to Target Center tonight as the Thunder visit the Wolves.

Oklahoma City Thunder (1-0) at Minnesota Timberwolves (1-0)
7:00pm Central FS North

Six years ago, "businessman" Ali Hakim, er, Clay Bennett, having sold worthless potions made promises to Ado Annie the people of Seattle he had no intention of keeping, bolted town with an NBA franchise in tow, returning to his home in:


Things have been on an upward swing for the franchise since then, as they have improved their winning percentage each season since arriving in the Sooner state. However:

A little more then a year ago, Ado Annie Thunder GM Sam Presti was forced to make a decision about Ali Hakim and Will Parker his high priced roster, and who to marry keep and who to trade.  Just before the opening of the 2012-13 season, he traded shooting guard James Harden to the Rockets for what wound up being a collection of trinkets from Kansas City not a whole lot of value.

One imagines it was agonizing:


In the meantime, on the court, there was a tug-of-war over Laurey leadership between Jud and Curly Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. Ultimately this was decided in favor of Curly Durant, and the Thunder went on to a simple life post the best record in franchise history.  However, the death of Jud injury to Westbrook in the playoffs, the first significant injury the Thunder suffered in recent history, derailed their championship hopes, and they were beaten in the Western semis by the Memphis Grizzlies.

They are back, though Jud Westbrook remains on the shelf for the start of the season.  Meanwhile Curley Durant is off to a fantastic start, and looks as though he's ready to reprise his all-NBA performance.  Oklahoma City, even without Harden, remains a contender for the title and is one of the best teams in the West.

It must be nice to be an Oklahoman Thunder fan.


Likely Starters:

OKC:

Reggie Jackson
Thabo Sefolosha
Kevin Durant 
Serge Ibaka
Kendrick Perkins

Wolves:

Ricky Rubio
Kevin Martin
Corey Brewer
Kevin Love
Nikola Pekovic

The Thunder come in off a close win in Utah in their season opener, where Gordon Hayward missed a potential game tying three pointer at the buzzer. The Thunder got 42 points from Kevin Durant, and not much from everyone else, which may be a recurring theme until the return of Russell Westbrook from injury.

The Wolves have played the Thunder well in recent years, beating them twice last season, and taking them to double overtime two years ago in one of the most memorable contests in recent Wolves history.

This year, of course, it's the Wolves who have Kevin Martin, and the Thunder, though still very strong around Durant, have some depth questions, especially in the absence of Westbrook.  Hopefully the Wolves will be able to get Pekovic going tonight against Kendrick Perkins,and the Love-Ibaka matchup should be fun to watch as well.

We'll be back later with a game thread.

Oklahoma!

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