Still in the running for the top seed in the Western Conference, the Oklahoma City Thunder will kick off a five-game road trip tonight against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center.
The Northwest Division-champion Thunder are just one game ahead of San Antonio for the conference's top spot and were able to post a 115-89 home win last night against the lowly Sacramento Kings. Kevin Durant had 29 points and nine rebounds, while Russell Westbrook had 22 points, six rebounds and five assists for Oklahoma City, which has won three of four since losing three straight.
"That team is a very good offensive rebounding team," Durant said of the Kings. "I think our bigs did a good job on them...We got a good win. We needed this one."
Derek Fisher netted 14 points off the bench in the win. The Thunder are 18-10 on the road and will be rooting for the Phoenix Suns tonight against the Spurs.
Oklahoma City will also visit the Clippers, Suns, Kings and Lakers. Thunder top reserve James Harden missed Friday's game with a sore right knee and is questionable for Saturday. He is averaging 16.7 ppg this season.
Minnesota hopes to put the brakes on an eight-game losing streak tonight back in the Twin Cities, where it has dropped the past four contests and owns a 13-16 record.
The Timberwolves were last in action during a 95-82 loss versus the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday, as All-Star Kevin Love missed the game after suffering a mild concussion and neck strain during a loss at Denver on Wednesday. Love is out indefinitely. Nikola Pekovic had 17 points for the Wolves, who were eliminated from playoff contention with the loss.
"We just couldn't make a shot (in the fourth quarter)," said Timberwolves head coach Rick Adelman. "We just ran out of gas."
Minnesota's season turned on March 9 when it lost dynamic rookie point guard Ricky Rubio to a torn ACL in a loss to the Lakers. It is 4-15 since the Spanish sensation went down with the injury.
The last time Minnesota and Oklahoma City got together was on March 23 in a 149-140 double-overtime triumph for the Thunder. Westbrook had 45 points and Durant added 40, while Love poured in a franchise-best 51 points. Oklahoma City is 2-0 against the Wolves this season and has won 11 in a row in this series.
The Thunder have also won six straight and nine of 10 games at Target Center.