Even with five key players out of the lineup, a depleted Minnesota Timberwolves squad is still hanging tough with the best team in the Western Conference after two quarters on Saturday night, and trails 59-58 at the break.
J.J. Barea has poured in 17 points on 7-for-10 shooting for the T-Wolves to keep pace, while Oklahoma City Thunder elite scorer Kevin Durant has matched him with 18 of his own. Durant is also a perfect 3-for-3 from three-point range and has chipped in four rebounds, and remains a threat to go off for 30 to 35 points any given night.
Minnesota managed to outscore Oklahoma City 27-25 in the second quarter, and still holds a higher field goal percentage after 24 minutes of play (45.7% to 44.4%). The key for the T-Wolves early on, in addition to only having four team turnovers, has been the bench combo of Anthony Randolph and Michael Beasley (combined 17 points, 12 rebounds). The two lanky big men will be counted on for huge nights if Minnesota plans to keep up with the Thunder in the second half.