Facing the shorthanded Minnesota Timberwolves, Jackson played
like a veteran as he helped spur the Thunder to a 106-97 victory
Wednesday at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Oklahoma City became the first
team in the league to hit the 40-win mark this season.
"I think Reggie did a great job of finding guys and making the right
plays," forward Kevin Durant said of Jackson, who finished with 20
points on 9-for-14 shooting and added nine assists while turning it
over only once.
"He was definitely aggressive trying to get to the rim. And shooting
the thing as well. He played well tonight. We kind of fed off him."
Durant finished with 26 points, nine rebounds and seven assists to
lead the Thunder (40-11). Center Kendrick Perkins grabbed 12 boards,
and forward Serge Ibaka scored 14.
Late in the fourth quarter, Durant was called for a technical foul
with the Thunder leading 93-86. After Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio
missed the technical free throw, Durant knocked down a jumper to put
Oklahoma City ahead by nine.
Jackson came up with a steal with 2:04 left. Durant was calling for
the ball at the top of the key, looking to put the game away.
However, Jackson waved him off, then drove into the lane before
passing the ball to guard Thabo Sefolosha for a 3-pointer to put the
Thunder up 100-90.
Timberwolves forward Chase Budinger missed a 3-pointer, and Ibaka
tipped in a missed layup by Durant to give the Thunder a 12-point
advantage. Jackson added a 3-pointer to close out the night.
Rubio led the Timberwolves (24-25) with 19 points and five assists.
Forward Dante Cunningham scored 18 points, and he and Rubio each
grabbed eight rebounds.
Minnesota coach Rick Adelman said he was proud of his team, which
was playing without three starters.
"It was a tough game," Adelman said. "They busted their tails the
whole game. I think it shows that these guys compete. They weren't
afraid to go play them with three starters out."
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Minnesota (24-25) played without forward Kevin Love, who landed
painfully on his back Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Lakers.
That left the Timberwolves trying to run their offense through Rubio
and forward Ronny Turiaf.
Rubio responded with nine first-quarter points, and Minnesota
trailed 26-25 heading into the second quarter.
"Without (Love), there's more shots," Rubio said. "And we have to
take more responsibility and just have to attack."
The Timberwolves pulled ahead in the second period by getting
Oklahoma City couldn't take care of the ball, as it committed 11 of
its 16 turnovers in the first half. However, the Thunder still led
56-54 at halftime thanks to Durant's 3-pointer at the buzzer.
The Thunder came up with another buzzer beater to close out the
third quarter when the Minnesota forward Gorgui Dieng mistakenly
tapped in a 3-pointer from Thunder guard Derek Fisher. Dieng was
called for goaltending, and Oklahoma City led 80-77.
"I thought that was a big momentum (boost) going into that fourth
quarter," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "I think we went on a 7-0
run at the end of the third and start of the fourth."
NOTES: Minnesota F Kevin Love (back) was a last-minute scratch, but
coach Rick Adelman said there were no worries about a concussion.
"He is pretty stiff," Adelman said. "He took a hard fall. He didn't
hit his head or anything. More his neck. Kind of whiplash." ...
Minnesota C Nikola Pekovic missed his fifth consecutive game due to
bursitis in his right ankle. ... Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks
likes the two-man game Fs Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka have built
this season. "Ibaka is starting to have a feel for the game," Brooks
said. "Especially the two-man game between him and KD. KD is going
to demand a lot of attention. Most teams will put an extra body on
KD and Serge is one of the best midrange shooters in the game." ...
Durant captured his third consecutive NBA Western Conference Player
of the Month award as he helped the Thunder to a 13-4 record in
January. He averaged 35.9 points during the month.
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