OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma City Thunder's first win didn't come without a little last-second trepidation.
Minnesota Timberwolves forward Rodney Carney, center splits between Oklahoma City Thunder forwards Joe Smith, left and Chris Wilcox, right, in the second quarter of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Sunday, Nov. 2, 2008.
(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Kevin Durant scored 18 points and first-round pick Russell Westbrook sparked a comeback as the Thunder beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 88-85 Sunday night for their first victory in their new home.
But officials had to huddle after the final buzzer to see if there was a foul before the clock hit zero. Cheerleaders rushed onto the floor, and the crowd gave one final cheer after the game was ruled over.
Westbrook, who earlier sparked a 13-0 run that pulled the Thunder out of a third-quarter deficit, hit the go-ahead basket with a driving layup that made it 86-85 with 2:19 to play and Oklahoma City stopped Minnesota on its next six possessions to hang on for the win.
Nick Collison added a left-handed hook shot in the lane with 16.4 seconds left to make it a three-point game, and the Timberwolves had one final chance after Jeff Green missed two free throws with 7.1 seconds to play.
Ryan Gomes missed a potential tying 3-pointer from the left side, and the foul on the rebound was ruled to have occurred after the game was over.
Minnesota's Al Jefferson had 24 points and 13 rebounds for his third straight double-double to start the season, but the Thunder clamped down late on him. Craig Smith added 13 points, Gomes scored 12 and Mike Miller had 10.
Westbrook had 14 points, Green scored 13 and Chris Wilcox had 12 for the Thunder. Collison had 10 points and 10 rebounds for his first double-double.
Jefferson ended a three-minute scoreless stretch by both teams when he put back Randy Foye's missed 3-pointer for an 85-84 Minnesota lead, but that ended up being Minnesota's only basket in the final 5 minutes.
Westbrook answered with his layup, and Gomes, Jefferson and Foye all missed chances to give the Timberwolves the lead.
The Thunder got off to slow starts in each of the first three quarters, going 3-for-13 from the field to open the game and then giving up a 9-0 run to start the second quarter and a 7-0 spurt right after halftime.
Each time, Oklahoma City came back — and Westbrook finally got his team over the top.
The No. 4 overall pick in this year's draft had steals on back-to-back possessions late in the third quarter to spark a 13-0 run that put the Thunder on top. He turned his steal of Smith's outlet pass into a three-point play to get the spurt going and finished it off with a driving finger roll for a 76-73 Oklahoma City lead.