Timberwolves win 4th straight, beat Thunder

  • Associated Press
  • Wednesday, January 7, 2009 8:00pm
  • SportsSports

MINNEAPOLIS — Randy Foye and the Minnesota Timberwolves are on their first roll of the season.

Foye equaled his career high with 32 points in just three quarters and the Wolves won their fourth straight game, beating the Oklahoma City Thunder 129-87 on Wednesday night.

Al Jefferson added 21 points and 13 rebounds for Minnesota, which has won six of its last eight following a 13-game losing streak.

Russell Westbrook had 16 points and a career-high 12 assists for the Thunder, who were overwhelmed in every phase of the game.

After hand-delivering a victory over Memphis on Tuesday night with a deep 3-pointer and a block on O.J. Mayo in the final minute, Foye set the tone against the Thunder with an incredible first quarter.

Foye made all six of his field goals — including three 3-pointers — and scored 18 points. The Timberwolves shot 75 percent in the period to lead 42-24, setting a season high for points in a quarter.

Shooting and attacking the rim from the jump, this is the kind of player the team envisioned when it traded future All-Star Brandon Roy to Portland on draft night for Foye and cash.

But a major knee injury last year, and a failed attempt to make him a point guard, slowed his progress. As Foye continued to struggle and Roy emerged as one of the brightest young stars in the league out West, criticism of the player and Kevin McHale, the man who engineered the transaction, mounted.

Ever since Foye has been moved primarily to shooting guard, the production gap has narrowed. Foye has averaged 25.3 points in the last three games and has flourished since McHale took over for coach Randy Wittman on Dec. 8.

It was an enormous step back for a young Thunder team that, like the Wolves, had been playing better of late after a horrendous start to the season.

Oklahoma City had won two of its last three, with the lone loss coming on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Denver’s Carmelo Anthony, after a 3-29 start.

But all the energy, intensity and offensive execution that coach Scott Brooks has praised in the last week was nonexistent at Target Center. They were outscored 62-40 in the paint, gave up 32 points on 16 turnovers and were outrebounded 57-38.

Kevin Durant, who entered the night leading the Thunder in scoring at 23.9 points per game, scored a season-low nine points on just 3 of 13 shooting, the first time all season he’s been held under 12 points.

Notes: Thunder C Nenad Krstic played his first game for Oklahoma

City since being signed as a restricted free agent out of Russia on Dec. 30. He finished with six points in 16 minutes. … Thunder coach Scott Brooks returned to the city he played for two years in 1990-92. “I have great memories here,” he said. “I was a sorry backup point guard for two years. Hopefully I’m a better head coach.” … Wolves rookie Kevin Love had 16 points and tied a career high with 15 rebounds.

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