'This is our time': Patrick Beverley once again a thorn in Thunder's side, leads Timberwolves past OKC

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  • Josh Giddey
    Josh Giddey
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Mike Wilks
    American basketball player

MINNEAPOLIS — The Thunder had as many turnovers (10) as points (10) in the first quarter.

It was the Thunder’s worst offensive quarter of the season. Bad enough to trail the volatile Timberwolves by 20 points — 30-10.

And yet it was a one-point game midway through the fourth quarter.

The Thunder stopped turning the ball over, and the Timberwolves left the door open for the rarely-say-die Thunder. OKC outscored Minnesota by seven points in the second quarter, and seven more in the third quarter.

But then the Thunder’s offense dried up again. At the most crucial of times.

The Thunder scored two points between the 5:30 and 2:30 marks in the fourth quarter as Minnesota outlasted OKC 98-90 on a snowy Wednesday night in Minneapolis.

“We got off to a slow start,” Thunder coach Mike Wilks said. “Some uncharacteristic turnovers. But guys were able to settle down, settle in.”

After the Thunder’s 10 turnovers in the first quarter, it only turned the ball over seven times over the next three quarters combined. OKC even managed to outscore Minnesota 20-17 in points off turnovers, but that wasn’t enough.

“We didn’t come out ready to play like we should have,” Thunder guard Josh Giddey said. “Those turnovers, a few of them were on me. Just sloppy plays we usually don’t make.”

Here are four more takeaways from the game:

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MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JANUARY 05: Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves reacts after a play during the second quarter against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Target Center on January 5, 2022 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JANUARY 05: Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves reacts after a play during the second quarter against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Target Center on January 5, 2022 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Williams boosts bench

Has anyone ever mentioned that Kenrich Williams could help a contender?

Just show them the tape from Wednesday night.

Kenny Hustle had 10 points, four steals and a season-high nine rebounds. Five of those were offensive rebounds.

The Thunder outscored the Timberwolves by 10 points in Williams’ 25 minutes.

“He’s probably the most respected guy on the team,” Wilks said.

Variations of that line have been repeated throughout the last two seasons.

“He was himself,” Shai Gilgeous-Alexander said. “Obviously a big part of this team.”

Williams should be one of the most sought-after wings at the Feb. 10 trade deadline.

Darius Bazley didn’t shoot the ball well, but credit his effort, too.

He kept plays alive by fighting for loose balls. Bazley finished with 10 points and seven rebounds. He was a team-best plus-15 in his 24 minutes.

Wilks closed the game with Bazley on the floor.

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MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JANUARY 05: Kenrich Williams #34 of the Oklahoma City Thunder drives to the basket as Jaylen Nowell #4 of the Minnesota Timberwolves defends in the second quarter at Target Center on January 5, 2022 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JANUARY 05: Kenrich Williams #34 of the Oklahoma City Thunder drives to the basket as Jaylen Nowell #4 of the Minnesota Timberwolves defends in the second quarter at Target Center on January 5, 2022 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Beverley for three

Anthony Edwards led the Wolves with 22 points, but Patrick Beverley’s outside shooting swung the game.

Beverley was 5-of-9 from 3-point range — one make shy of tying his career high.

Beverley was also the Timberwolves’ spark when they started to sleep.

“Wake the f--- up, y’all,” he told his teammates midway through the fourth quarter. “This is our time.”

Karl-Anthony Towns, back in Minnesota’s lineup for the first time in two weeks, had 17 points and 16 rebounds.

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Timberwolves guard Patrick Beverley (22) argues with a call with a referee during the third quarter of a 98-90 win against the Thunder on Wednesday at Target Center in Minneapolis.
Timberwolves guard Patrick Beverley (22) argues with a call with a referee during the third quarter of a 98-90 win against the Thunder on Wednesday at Target Center in Minneapolis.

Backcourt breakdown

Gilgeous-Alexander had a rough first half. Really rough. The Thunder’s star point guard had four points on 1-of-6 shooting.

He turned things up in the second half with 15 points on 4-of-9 shooting. He was 5-of-5 from the free throw line in the second half.

Giddey finished with 14 points, 15 rebounds, six assists and six turnovers.

Before the game, Timberwolves coach Chris Finch said Giddey has a mix of Luka Doncic and LaMelo Ball in him.

Aside from the high turnover count, Giddey continues to put together stacked lines. The back-to-back Western Conference Rookie of the Month is well on his way to making it three for three.

Giddey, who’s biggest weakness is his outside shot, drilled a pair of 3-pointers in the fourth quarter. The second made it a two-point game with just under eight minutes to play.

“Making them come up and respect that three is going to be big for me going forward,” Giddey said, “because it’s going to open up so many other things.”

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (left) works his way around Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards (1) during Wednesday night's NBA game at Target Center.
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (left) works his way around Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards (1) during Wednesday night's NBA game at Target Center.

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(Almost) full strength

Gilgeous-Alexander, Bazley, Tre Mann and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl all returned from health and safety protocols.

Bazley and Mann missed five games. Robinson-Earl missed four. Gilgeous-Alexander missed just one. Gilgeous-Alexander said he registered one inconclusive test, followed by three negative tests. That’s why his absence was so brief.

“You’re used to playing every other day, and then you miss one game and it turns into four days,” Gilgeous-Alexander said.

Center Isaiah Roby entered health and safety protocols on Wednesday. Roby is the only Thunder player in protocols, but OKC is still missing coach Mark Daigneault.

“It’s hard having pieces in and out throughout this time, but every team has to deal with it, so you can’t really use it as an excuse,” Giddey said.

Luguentz Dort (knee soreness) and Derrick Favors (lower back soreness) were out Wednesday night.

Robinson-Earl didn’t clear health and safety protocols until after the team flew to Minneapolis on Tuesday afternoon. Robinson-Earl took a separate flight Wednesday morning.

Despite the quick trip, and having just recovered from COVID-19, Robinson-Earl started.

“Honestly I don’t know what to expect, but I did talk to Jeremiah,” Wilks said before the game. “We’ll play it by feel tonight.”

Robinson-Earl played 22 minutes, a good chunk of which were spent guarding Towns. Not exactly a warm welcome back.

This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: Thunder vs. Timberwolves: Takeaways from OKC's loss against Minnesota

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