Thunder at Wolves
These end of season games are brutal for the national networks. It’s almost impossible that these games will mean something to both teams. This one is particularly depressing, with two non-glamour markets, the Wolves out of the playoffs, and the Thunder hanging around the bottom of the West bracket. You would think ABC could have done better.
That said, this game is actually meaningful to the Thunder, who could realistically finish anywhere from 6th to 8th in the West. They would no doubt like to avoid the Warriors, which means staying out of the 8th spot. A loss today and a Spurs win against the Cavs would leave the Thunder in that spot with two games left. The Wolves of course have no tangible motivation, but that didn’t stop them from dispatching a desperate Heat team the other night. Somehow, the Wolves have found a little bit of mojo now that the season is effectively over. Sigh.
This has been a successful match up for the Wolves this season. They have beaten the Thunder all three games so far, the last one a month ago when Karl-Anthony Towns rampaged for 41 points and 14 boards in 30 minutes in a 131-120 win. Previous to that, of course, was the win in Oklahoma City in Ryan Saunders’ debut when Andrew Wiggins went for 40.
The Thunder are of course armed with two mega-stars in Russell Westbrook and Paul George, and are one of the best rebounding and defensive teams in the league. At times they have looked like an upper echelon team, but they have not been consistently efficient enough offensively to hang with the best teams in the NBA. Still, their star power is scary, and among the bottom three teams in the West—along with the Spurs and Clippers—the Thunder are likely the one the top teams would prefer to avoid.
While everyone is distracted by the Final Four going on in town, the Wolves host another team that could really use a win. Can they the Thunder home disappointed?
Our friends with the Thunder side of things are over at Welcome to Loud City.