Kevin Durant was downright dominant on Sunday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves as he recorded his fourth career triple-double and put up a game-high 32 points. During their win streak, the Thunder have won a handful of games quite easily, but needed a 35-point fourth quarter effort against the Timberwolves to complete the come-from-behind performance.
Durant played a crucial role late in the game, but the unsuspecting x-factor was backup point guard Reggie Jackson, who has been averaging 10 points per game this season. He stepped up late on Sunday and made eight of his 11 shots on his way to scoring 18 points, his second-highest point total of the season.
Durant’s increased play lately is the biggest reason for the win streak reaching seven games as he has now recorded double-digit rebounds in three straight games. Durant has primarily been a scorer during his time in the NBA, but as we’ve seen recently, the Thunder are a much better team when he plays a more well-rounded game.
His scoring is still his biggest weapon, but if the Thunder are to live up to expectations this season, rebounding and defense must become a constant stay in Durant’s game.
The Thunder now stand at 12-3 on the season, but are still a half game back of the equally hot Portland Trail Blazers in the Northwest Division. Sunday’s victory over the Timberwolves helped Oklahoma City’s cause as they are now five games ahead of the Timberwolves, a team that has plenty of potential and actually beat the Thunder exactly one month ago.
Looking forward, the Thunder will have a tough time continuing their win streak as they must face both the Trail Blazers and Indiana Pacers in the upcoming week. It will be a true test for the championship hopeful Thunder as the Pacers pushed the Heat to the limit in the playoffs last season, and the Trail Blazers appear to be true contenders in an ever-improving Western Conference.