Rubio rescues Timberwolves, sinks Thunder

Sat Mar 12, 2016 12:52am EST
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(The Sports Xchange) - The last time the Minnesota Timberwolves visited Oklahoma City, they were ran out of the gym. In the 20-point loss, coach Sam Mitchell left his young stars on the floor till the final buzzer so they would learn to hate the feeling of losing.

The lesson must have been learned well.

Ricky Rubio buried a 3-pointer with 00.2 left in the game to give the Timberwolves a 99-96 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder Friday at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.

"This was a big win for us," Andrew Wiggins said. "It's the first time we've beat them in a long time. It's huge. It'll do a lot for our confidence going into the next game."

Gorgui Dieng scored 25 points to lead the Timberwolves. He was seven of 12 from the field and 11 of 11 from the free-throw line. Wiggins scored 20 points and Ricky Rubio posted 12 assists and 13 points, including the game-winning 3-pointer as the Timberwolves improved to 21-45.

"We just talked about it. We have got to start competing better against some of the better teams in the Western Conference," Mitchell said. "I'm proud of our guys."

Kevin Durant scored 28 points on 11 of 20 shooting for the Thunder. Russell Westbrook added 26 points and eight assists. Enes Kanter came off the bench to pour in 17 points and 14 rebounds. But it was not enough as the Thunder fell to 44-21.

Oklahoma City racked up 24 turnovers on the night that led to 26 points. Durant, who had six turnovers himself, took the brunt of the blame.

"That's all on me," Durant said. "It's contagious. I'm the leader. Everyone expects me to be on my game every night. So I take full responsibility. I have to better at every part of the game."   Continued...

File photo of Minnesota Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio (9) shooting a basket against the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half at Staples Center. October 28, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports