Friday night, the Oklahoma City Thunder and Minnesota Timberwolves battle in a game featuring two squads that won their opener by a small margin. For the Thunder, it’s all about surviving until Russell Westbrook returns. Kevin Durant may have to score every bucket for them to contend until then, and in their first game of the season he nearly did just that.
Durant dropped 42 points and attacked the basket hard in a win over the Utah Jazz, going 22-for-24 from the free throw line. He also added six rebounds and three steals. Having had guys like Gordon Hayward and Richard Jefferson looking to defend him that night, he’ll have a bit of a tougher task Friday.
Corey Brewer came back to the Timberwolves because they needed a perimeter defender in a bad way. Brewer is known for his stingy defense and energy, and going against one of the league’s best scorers like Durant will be a tall task. Brewer was responsible for guarding guys like Maurice Harkless in the opener, and, Durant is a different animal to say the least.
While Durant only shot 9-for-24 in his opener, the majority of those misses came from the times he was sent to the line so it is not necessarily fair to look at that area of his stat line. Without Westbrook right now, Durant very well could average 35-40 points per game. In fact, he knows he’s got to do that.
For the Wolves to have any shot at winning this game, Brewer is going to have to hound Durant all night, and, in the end that still might not be enough. The Wolves always play the Thunder tough, so this game won’t be a drubbing by any means. But, Durant will be looking to score first all night long and Brewer is going to be that guy draped all over him.