National Basketball Association
Oklahoma City at Minnesota
When: 8:00 PM ET, Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Where: Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
The Oklahoma City Thunder need to beat the host Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday and get some help from the San Antonio Spurs at the same time if they hope to advance to the playoffs for a sixth straight season. The Thunder and the eighth-place New Orleans Pelicans enter the final day of the regular season with identical records, but the Pelicans, who host the Spurs on Wednesday, own the tiebreaker.
Good thing for the Thunder, the Spurs will likely need the win to lock up the No. 2 seed in the West. Oklahoma City point guard Russell Westbrook avoided a suspension for Monday’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers after his 16th technical foul of the season was rescinded by the league earlier in the day, and he went out and produced 36 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists in the 101-90 victory, which kept the Thunder in the playoff hunt. Before that game Oklahoma City had lost seven of nine, so it's not exactly riding a wave of momentum going into the regular-season finale. Another factor that should fall in the Thunder’s favor is the state of the Timberwolves, who lost to the Pelicans on Monday for their 11th consecutive defeat and are guaranteed to have the NBA’s worst record. TV:
8 p.m. ET, FSN Oklahoma, FSN North (Minnesota)ABOUT THE THUNDER (44-37):
Enes Kanter continues to blossom in Oklahoma City, averaging 21.3 points in seven games this month to boost his season mark to 15.3. He’s coming off a 17.7 scoring effort in March, which was the best-scoring month of his four-year career. Kanter had 23 points and 15 rebounds when these teams met March 13 and he’ll face a Minnesota team that will likely be without its top two centers and power forwards.ABOUT THE TIMBERWOLVES (16-65):
Kevin Martin (illness), Kevin Garnett (left knee), Anthony Bennett (right ankle) and Gorgui Dieng (illness) all missed Monday’s game against the Pelicans, joining Ricky Rubio, Shabazz Muhammad and Nikola Pekovic, who had already been shut down for the season. Chase Budinger, who started at forward against the Pelicans, left the game with a sprained ankle, leaving his status in doubt as well. One player who’s a safe bet to suit up is rookie forward Andrew Wiggins, who will be looking to start all 82 games this season.BUZZER BEATERS
1. Kanter has recorded at least 20 points and 10 rebounds in 10 games since he was traded to Oklahoma City in late February, something no Thunder center had ever accomplished prior to then.
2. Oklahoma City Thunder F Anthony Morrow is shooting a league-leading 51 percent from beyond the 3-point arc since the All State break.
3. Westbrook has four triple-doubles by the end of the third quarter this season.PREDICTION:
Thunder 107, Timberwolves 87
Stats and Records