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Wolves Are No Match For Thunder

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OKLAHOMA CITY — Kevin Durant scored 26 points, Russell Westbrook added 23 and the Oklahoma City Thunder overpowered the outmanned Minnesota Timberwolves 106-84 on Wednesday night.

After losing its last game on a buzzer-beater against a last-place Washington team saddled by injuries to its three top players, Oklahoma City left nothing to chance with the Timberwolves missing All-Star forward Kevin Love and four others.

The Thunder took control with a string of seven straight points early in the second half and stretched their lead to 24 before pulling Durant, Westbrook and the other starters with 5:44 remaining.

Alexey Shved scored 18 points for Minnesota, which announced earlier in the day that Love would miss eight to 10 weeks after breaking his right hand for the second time.

Nikola Pekovic added 17 points and 10 rebounds in the opener of a four-game road trip for the Timberwolves.

The Timberwolves were also without guard J.J. Barea (back spasms), who has given the Thunder fits since the Western Conference finals two seasons ago. Chase Budinger, Brandon Roy and Malcolm Lee were already sidelined with knee injuries for Minnesota.

Kevin Martin chipped in 19 points off the bench for Oklahoma City, which had a 12-game winning streak in the series snapped last month in Minnesota.

After a slow start on offense by both teams, Oklahoma City used a 12-2 run to move ahead in the second quarter, also getting above 30 percent shooting in the process. Westbrook converted a jumper and a three-point play, then set up Serge Ibaka’s two-handed slam that made it 36-24 with 5:15 left before halftime.

Luke Ridnour had back-to-back steals against Durant to set up fast-break dunks and fuel a comeback as Minnesota tied it at 42 before giving up the final five points of the first half.

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Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Material may not be redistributed.

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