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Game Preview #67: Thunder at Wolves

Will the Wolves break the 9 year curse for a 6-game win streak tonight?

Twitter: @SeawrightSays

We sure got our share of fun shenanigans on Monday.

Between the team joining the crowd in doing the wave, and force feeding the 14th man possessions to score on his birthday, there wasn’t much we didn’t see during the 43-point thrashing of the hapless Trail Blazers. The end result was a 5-game win streak as the Wolves continued to distance themselves from the 8th seed yet remain nowhere closer to the 6th seed. Today may be yet another instance of déjà vu as Minnesota looks to achieve a 6-game win streak that dates back to December 23, 2003.

Instead of doing a deep dive on the Thunder, who have lost 11 of their last 14 games including a 101-138 loss to the Wolves just 5 days ago, I’d like to revisit where we were back in the good ‘ol days of 2003.


Game Info

Who: Oklahoma City Thunder (20-45; 14th) at Minnesota Timberwolves (37-29; 7th)
When: 7:00 pm CST
TV: Bally Sports North
Radio: 830 WCCO AM Radio


Injury Report


Where Were You In December 23, 2003?

  • The Wolves were in their first season of The Three Wolves era, as Latrell Sprewell and Sam Cassell turned out to be high reward, high risk additions to the team. The Wolves had lost to the Lakers in the previous postseason after being up 2-1 in the series where one of my favorite Timberwolves of all-time, Troy “Laker Killer” Hudson, averaged of 23.5 points per game. Now, they were now exceeding expectations at 18-9 and despite having lost to the New York Knicks earlier in the season, they would win their rematch in Latrell “Feed My Family” Sprewell’s return to Madison Square Garden. Check out the wild box score below and I guarantee you can find at least 5 things that surprise you. This win marked Minnesota’s first 6-game win streak since the previous ‘02-’03 season where they actually had TWO 6-game streaks, in addition to a 7-game streak to boot.
December 23, 2003 Box Score
ESPN
  • Atlanta’s hip-hop duo, OutKast, had their hit single Hey Ya! remain #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 list. This would be their 11th week in a row on the list. Additionally, their song The Way You Move was also #2 on that week’s list, marking it’s 14th week in a row. I wonder if Anthony Edwards knows these songs, as he was just 2 years old.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King hit theaters across the United States just a week prior. It would be the number one box office film in the latter weeks of December 2003. As a LOTR fan, I was pumped for this release and definitely saw it in theaters with my older brother, who actually read the books. He used to always tell my mom that I was Grima Wormtongue. Screw him.
  • A terrible natural gas field explosion at Chuandongbei killed over 200 people and injured over 400 more in Chongqing, China. It was one of the worst accidents of its kind.
  • I was a newly turned 15 year-old in my junior year of high school. My family had to sell the home we were living in due to financial hardships as we moved into a tiny house which we used to rent out. My household was going through some real difficult times and the Timberwolves were actually one of the only positive escapes that I had. I had long been toiling with computers so with my personal desktop that I built, I looked forward to downloading the latest month’s schedule wallpaper and update it after every game (Being the virtual hoarder that I am, I still have these saved in old external hard drives).
Original image of the Timberwolves.com desktop wallpapers that I used to update as a teenager

Let’s hear some stories about you in the comments section below!


Predictions

  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has been averaging 33.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 7.7 assists, and 3.0 stocks per game on .571/.429/.768 splits since the All-Star break. He’s scored less than 30 points (29) just once in that 7-game span, and that was in a 12-point victory over Denver. Will SGA finally cool off tonight? Nope. I fully expect my regret for trading him away in fantasy basketball to continue tonight. Why did I have to tinker?
  • We get to witness Aleksej Pokuševski do something cool. Maybe cool for the Thunder. Maybe cool for the Timberwolves. Either way, I think he’s primed for a #1 Top 10 highlight/Shaqtin’ A Fool lowlight. Boy, is he exciting!
  • I’m not anticipating another 43 37-point blowout of OKC again. However, I am expecting another win. KAT should once again have the freedom to easily post 25 & 15, but with the return of Ant and D’Lo, the load will be shared. That said, there will be probably be a few kinks to work out as the starting lineup tries to reestablish their chemistry together. The Thunder keep it close for the 1st half before the Wolves comfortably stay about 10 points ahead for the majority of the second half. Timberwolves 123, Thunder 111.