The Oklahoma City Thunder will try to push their winning streak to four on Friday night when they visit the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Target Center.
Oklahoma City is fighting for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference and trails the San Antonio Spurs by 1 1/2 games. The Thunder are 4 1/2 games up on the Denver Nuggets in the Northwest Division.
The Thunder won their third straight on Wednesday night when they buried the Washington Wizards, 103-80. Defense was the order of the day for OKC as it didn't allow Washington to score more than 23 points in a quarter, including 14 in the final frame.
Oklahoma City had to deal with a red-hot John Wall, but held him to 18 points on 3-for-18 shooting from the field. Wall had a career-high 47 points in his previous game. The Wizards only shot 32 percent as a team.
"We wanted to make sure that he did not get in to the paint and get any easy shots early," head coach Scott Brooks said of Wall. "That's the great luxury to have when we have multiple guys that can guard multiple positions and that's one of the things that Thabo (Sefolosha) does well. He can guard any of their perimeter players."
Russell Westbrook had 21 points, Kevin Durant 20 and Kevin Martin added 18 off the bench.
The Timberwolves have alternated wins and losses over the last four and the most recent setback, a 120-117 loss on Wednesday, at home, to the Los Angeles Lakers was a bitter one.
The Lakers were up big, but the Wolves started fouling Dwight Howard to get the big man to the line. The strategy worked as Howard went 2-for-8 late and Minny cut the deficit to three.
Ricky Rubio took the last shot, but Kobe Bryant came over and blocked it, although the Timberwolves side believed a foul could've just as easily been called.
"What do you think? I mean come on," Wolves coach Rick Adelman said of the no- call. "First of all the guy should of never gone and tried to block the shot and he did. What are you going to say?"
Eight Minnesota players scored in double figures Wednesday, led by 19 points and 16 rebounds from Nikola Pekovic. Dante Cunningham had 18 off the bench and Rubio, Andrei Kirilenko, Derrick Williams, Luke Ridnour, Chase Budinger and J.J. Barea each cracked the 10-point mark.
The Timberwolves host the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday, then the Boston Celtics on Monday.
OKC has taken 14 of its last 15 against the Timberwolves. The only blemish was earlier this season when the Wolves knocked off the Thunder 99-93 in Minnesota.