In advance of the NBA’s official schedule release, the Christmas slate is coming into focus:
And now: Thunder-Timberwolves.
Dylan Buckingham of NewsChannel 4:
These are a couple intriguing teams. But neither is a playoff lock, and Russell Westbrook is the only clear All-Star on either team. The NBA usually devotes one Christmas game to a couple teams on the verge of making noise. This appears to be it.
The Timberwolves could make a big jump with a talented young core led by Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, Zach LaVine and Ricky Rubio. Tom Thibodeau will have this team playing hard and defending soundly. This might even be part of a Kevin Garnett retirement tour.
The Thunder will take a step back without Kevin Durant, but that just gives Westbrook more space to be Westbrook. Don’t sleep on his young supporting cast led by Steven Adams and Victor Oladipo, either.
This will be Minnesota’s first Christmas game, leaving the Charlotte Hornets and Memphis Grizzlies as the only teams that have never played on Dec. 25.