On Wednesday, the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 115-108 in the season opener thanks to 23 points and 15 rebounds from Gobert.
Timberwolves turned a 16-point lead into a six-point deficit during the third quarter as D’Angelo Russell and Jaden McDaniels combined for 20 points.
Gobert said that it shows how good and better we can be at the same time. The process will take time, and every night will be different.”
The entire team struggled to finish at the rim when Karl-Anthony Towns (12 points) and Anthony Edwards (11 points) shot a combined 6 for 27 from the field. His defensive work in the paint was also impressive.
The Thunder were led by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander with 32 points with 4:04 remaining.
According to Oklahoma City’s Josh Giddey, who scored 14 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, the switch could be flipped sooner rather than later.
Over 26 points were the average score in all four Timberwolves-Thunder matches last season. Following a return to the playoffs and the blockbuster trade of Gobert, Timberwolves fans anticipated one of the most exciting seasons in the team’s history.
Thunder went on a 27-5 run after Minnesota led by 16 points.
With 3:01 left in the period, Eugene Omoruyi knocked down a shot in the paint for Oklahoma City’s first lead.
Against the buzzer, Gobert flipped in a one-handed runner to tie it at 87 after stealing a poor pass by Mike Muscala.
Another highlight was Gobert’s dunk on Giddey to give the fans a 92-89 lead.
Gobert said he appreciated the love. I feel embraced by the crowd and community already.”
No. 2 overall draft pick Chet Holmgren was out injured, so the Timberwolves had to work for this win.
Giddey said scrappy games would suit his men. “We’re young.” Those environments should appeal to us.”
In this era of long-distance shooting and positionless small balls across the NBA, a pair of 7-footers with distinct skill sets are the biggest question surrounding the Timberwolves.
Towns twice tossed Gobert top-of-the-key lob passes for dunks in the first half as the twin towers showed their ability to play off of each other. 8 assists for Towns.
Towns said he was just trying to play winning basketball and utilize his passing ability.
In the second quarter, Thunder rookie Jalen Williams suffered a right eye injury. In defending McDaniels’ dunk attempt, he was hit and needed assistance.
His first season ended before it began when he ruptured a tendon in his right foot during a pro-am game. In addition to seeing family and bonding with his teammates, Holmgren grew up just a few miles from Target Center.
Rather than traveling with the team, Holmgren will focus on his rehab program.
Hints And Tips
Pokusevski had 11 points and seven rebounds in 25 minutes. Williams was replaced in the second half by Jeremiah Robinson-Earl.
With 10:47 left, Jaylen Nowell’s layup gave the Timberwolves the lead for good. … 58-game Utah veteran Eric Paschall was waived prior to the game amid left Achilles discomfort.
On Saturday, Thunder visits Denver. Sunday night is their home opener.
Utah plays the Timberwolves on Friday night. I’m looking forward to it. The love is all mine.”