NBA on Sling: T'Wolves Coming Off Tough Loss, Head to Chicago; Russell "Triple-Double" Westbrook Leads OKC Against Blazers

Dec 13, 2016 by Sling Staff

Minnesota Timberwolves (6-18) vs Chicago Bulls (13-10)
8pm ET on ESPN

The once promising Minnesota Timberwolves have now lost 8 of their last 9, including their last 4 in a row, after falling Sunday 116-108 to the Golden State Warriors. The Timberwolves trio of Andre Wiggins, Karl-Anthony Towns and Zach LaVine each scored 25 points, with Towns also grabbing 18 boards, but it wasn’t nearly enough. A young team like the ‘Wolves can be forgiven for losing to a super team like the Warriors, but it was still a tough loss, as Minnesota went into the 4th quarter with an 88-78 lead, but the Warriors went on a 14-4 run, with Klay Thompson scoring 9 of his game-high 30, to even things at 92-92. Minnesota continues to give up too many good looks, leading to their opponents shooting 47.4% from the floor, the second-highest mark in the league.

Dwyane Wade scored 28 points Saturday as his new team, the Chicago Bulls, defeated his old team, the Miami Heat, 105-100, for the second time in as many meetings this season. After finishing the first half tied 55-55, the Bulls took control in the 3rd quarter, with Wade scoring 10 of his team’s 28 points, as the Bulls took an 8-point lead into the 4th. Jimmy Butler led the Bulls with 31 points, and is now averaging a team-high 25.6 ppg, along with 6.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists. The Bulls have struggled of late, going 5-6, in large part thanks to a nosedive in their 3-point shooting percentage. After starting the season 8-4 while shooting 35.1% from downtown, the Bulls have made just 25.7% while going 5-6.

Oklahoma City Thunder (15-9) vs Portland Trail Blazers (12-14)
10:30pm ET on ESPN

The Oklahoma City Thunder squeaked past the Boston Celtics Sunday, 99-96, despite hitting just 3 of 21 from 3-point land and 14 of 27 from the free throw line. Russell Westbrook led OKC in points, rebounds and assists, with 37-12-6, as he maintained a triple-double on the season with 31.1-10.9-11.0 through 24 games. The Celtics led for most of the night, going up by as many as 13 in the 3rd quarter, and were ahead 94-92 with 2:27 to play, but Westbrook scored 5 of the Thunder’s 7 points down the stretch to ice the game. The Thunder definitely miss Kevin Durant, but as long as Westbrook is on the floor, they’ve got a chance against anybody.

It’s not often you shoot 51% from the floor, 48% from 3, and 88% from the line and come up short, but the Portland Trail Blazers did on Monday, losing a 121-120 heartbreaker to the Los Angeles Clippers. Damian Lillard went 24-5-8, and backcourt mate CJ McCollum had 25-5-3 before fouling out with 6 seconds to play. The Clippers’ JJ Reddick would sink both free throws, to put his team up 121-117, thereby rendering Lillard’s last-second 3-pointer moot. The Blazers have now lost 4 in a row, and have fallen to 28th in opponents’ points per game with 112.1. Lillard (27.7-4.8-5.7) and McCollum (22.7-3.7-3.7) remain among the best guard combos in the league, but until the team starts to clamp down on D, there will be a lot of long nights.

Watch the T’wolves vs Bulls at 8pm, followed by the Thunder vs Blazers at 10:30pm ET on ESPN by subscribing to Sling Orange

All stats courtesy ESPN and Basketball Reference.

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