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 Foye, Wolves keep rolling over Thunder

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PostSubject: Foye, Wolves keep rolling over Thunder   Thu Jan 08, 2009 5:01 pm

MINNEAPOLIS(AP) Randy Foye and the Minnesota
Timberwolves couldn't have looked much worse over the first two months
of the season.So far in 2009, it would be hard for them to look much better.Foye
matched 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."It's just great to be talking
about these wins,'' said Foye, who also had six assists in the second
most lopsided victory in franchise history."Early on we lost 13
in a row and I was getting tired of the same old broken record - we're
getting better, we're getting better. Now we're saying we're getting
better and I know you guys can see it.''Al Jefferson added 21
points and 13 rebounds for Minnesota, which has won six of its last
eight after that demoralizing 13-game skid dropped them to 4-23 on Dec.
23."They're confident and they're feeling good about playing
basketball again,'' coach Kevin McHale said. "It's no fun when you're
getting stomped.''Just ask the Thunder.Russell Westbrook
had 16 points and a career-high 12 assists for Oklahoma City, which was
overwhelmed in every phase of the game."There was nothing
positive about this game,'' coach Scott Brooks said. "We showed lack of
focus from the start. That's unacceptable. We've got to bring it every
night.''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."Foye is a terrific player,'' Brooks said. "He had a hot
hand. We could've done a better job of keeping him out of the paint and
contesting his shots.''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 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."Its tough. We played so
hard (Tuesday) night and in games before,'' Durant said of his Thunder,
which was coming off a victory over New York and looking to win two in
a row for the first time this season. "To come out and not even show up
is tough.''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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