Minneapolis, MN – Nikola Pekovic recorded a double-double with 22 points and 15 rebounds and Ricky Rubio added 17 points and seven assists as the Minnesota Timberwolves edged the Oklahoma City Thunder, 101-93, on Friday at Target Center.
Chase Budinger supplied 13 points off the bench, while Andrei Kirilenko chipped in with 12 for the Timberwolves, who have won two of three.
Kevin Durant scored 36 points and grabbed seven boards for the Thunder, who had a three-game winning streak come to an end. Russell Westbrook had 18 points to go along with nine assists and Serge Ibaka had a double-double with 10 points and 11 boards in defeat.
"You get up for every game...but tonight we ran into a team that just played better," Durant said. "It was just a little bump in the road."
Early in the fourth, a pair of Durant free throws minutes closed the gap to 84-81, but the Thunder quickly hit a cold streak and failed to find the scoreboard for just over 4 1/2 minutes. Meanwhile, Minnesota scored eight straight before Ibaka's jumper made it a 92-83 contest with five minutes remaining.
Once again Durant brought the Thunder back, this time within five with 3 1/2 minutes to play, but the determined Timberwolves didn't back down and stepped up defensively to close the contest out.
Kirilenko's tip-in shot that made it 95-87 with 1 1/2 minutes remaining helped secure the victory for good.
"I'm proud of the way our guys played," Timberwolves head coach Rick Adelman said. "It was a solid win against one of the best teams in the league."
After Minnesota led by five at the break, Westbrook hit a triple early in the third to tie the contest at 56-56. The home team, though, then responded with a 16-7 flurry over the next four-plus minutes to take a 72-63 lead on two Rubio free throws.
The margin quickly closed as Durant's runner at the end of the third brought the visitors within 80-77.
The contest was tied 23-23 after one quarter and the Timberwolves took a 53-48 edge into the break thanks to closing the first half on a 16-11 surge in the final 5:44.
Oklahoma City is 21-15 as the visitor this season ... The season series is tied 2-2. Minnesota found victory in the first matchup on Dec. 20 ... The Thunder had held their last four opponents to 90 points or fewer ... Minnesota had a 21-15 advantage on second chance points.