(SportsNetwork.com) - The Oklahoma City Thunder are on the outside looking in for the postseason, but they'll try to get back into the top eight Friday when they welcome the Minnesota Timberwolves to Chesapeake Energy Arena.
The Thunder have lost two of their last three and, thanks to a three-game winning streak by the New Orleans Pelicans, fell outside the top eight in the Western Conference standings. OKC is a half-game behind the Pelicans.
Russell Westbrook has been other-worldly in his play, but the Thunder miss reigning MVP Kevin Durant, who is out with a foot injury.
"He's progressing," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said on Wednesday. "We evaluated him today and expect him to return within a week, a week or two weeks."
That same day, the Thunder were crushed at home by the Los Angeles Clippers, 120-108, in a game that wasn't as close as the final score indicated.
Westbrook supplied 24 points, nine boards and seven assists and Anthony Morrow added 26 points off the bench for Oklahoma City, which has dropped four of its last seven contests.
"We struggled tonight," said Brooks. "They played a great basketball game."
The margin reached as high as 22 before the Clippers took a 100-85 margin into the fourth, where they cruised to the easy triumph.
Oklahoma City will host the Chicago Bulls on Sunday to complete this homestand.
The Timberwolves have lost six of their last seven and opened a four-game road trip with back-to-back losses to the Clippers and Phoenix Suns. They'll close the trek on Sunday against the San Antonio Spurs.
Minnesota was no match for the Suns on Wednesday as it fell, 106-97.
Kevin Martin led the Timberwolves with 16 points and Justin Hamilton tallied 15 off the bench. Andrew Wiggins, Adreian Payne, Gorgui Dieng and Chase Budinger each chipped in 10 points for Minnesota.
Timberwolves center Nikola Pekovic played just under eight minutes and missed the entire second half with a sore foot.
"We had some individual guys that played pretty well," Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders said. "We got 52 points off our bench so that's a positive."
The Suns shot 50 percent from the field and won the battle of the glass, 45-34. Minnesota shot just 44.4 percent from the floor and woeful, 1-for-13 from long range.
The Thunder have won five straight against their Northwest Division rivals. OKC has taken 10 in a row as the host in this series as Minnesota hasn't beaten the Thunder on the road since Nov. 2, 2008.