Brewer’s ‘D’ On Durant As Valuable As Timberwolves’ Double-Doubles


VIDEO: Corey Brewer discusses Wolves’ defensive effort against Thunder

The gaudy numbers came courtesy of the Timberwolves’ so-called Big 3, with Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio and Nikola Pekovic posting double-doubles in the same game for the first time ever. But the real work of Minnesota’s surprisingly easy 100-81 victory over West power Oklahoma City came in the trench marked by Kevin Durant‘s path around the court at Target Center.

That’s where Wolves forward Corey Brewer made living in denial a very good thing.

“That was a one-of-a-kind performance by Corey,” new Wolves shooter Kevin Martin said in the locker room afterward. “Memphis did a great job with Durant last year in the playoffs, but what we showed tonight was a special moment for our team. [Brewer] was focused early on. He knew what matchup he had tonight. He knew he was guarding the best offensive player in the league. He showed up.”

Two nights earlier, Durant had scored 42 points in the Thunder’s victory at Utah. Yes, he misfired at a 9-of-24 clip but he also sank 22 of his 24 free throws to score as many points as any four teammates combined.

Against Minnesota, Durant shot 4-of-11 and a more-than-tolerable 4-of-5 from the line in 27 minutes. Serge Ibaka (13) and reserve Jeremy Lamb (15) both got off more shots than Durant, who has missed 10 of 13 3-pointers so far in two games.

The 13 points were the fewest scored by Durant – in defeat, anyway – since before he started winning scoring titles. He had 13 in a Dec. 19, 2009 loss at Houston (and 12 in an OKC victory at Phoenix on Dec. 31, 2011).

“We wanted somebody else to beat us tonight,” Wolves coach Rick Adelman said. “We weren’t going to have him get that many looks. I thought Corey really set the tone early in the game. In the third quarter when we thought they were going to come at us aggressively, especially Durant, we did a nice job of keeping him away from the ball and not letting him touch it. When he did catch it, we had someone near him and that’s what we want – somebody near him all the time.”

Durant had 11 points at halftime on 3-of-7 shooting. The Thunder by then were in a 59-39 hole. Then the MVP aspirant scored two points in 10:17 of the third, Minnesota’s lead growing to as much as 28. Brewer wound up plus-13 in the game to Durant’s minus-20.

“On me? It’s not just one guy,” Durant said of Brewer. “Every time I caught it there were two guys guarding me. … One guy is never going to guard me.”

Brewer didn’t pronounce himself “the KD stopper” or anything close to that. But he knows that defense is his greatest asset.

“That’s what I do, you know? They have Kevin Durant, I tried to stop him. We stopped him, we got a win,” Brewer said. “I’m pretty tired.”

If Durant is considered one of the NBA’s unstoppable forces offensively, the Minnesota defense has been one of its unreliable objects. Adding Martin, re-signing Chase Budinger and drafting Shabazz Muhammad all were moves to aid Adelman’s attack, even as the other end of the floor needed as much or more attention. That’s where bringing back Brewer, the team’s No. 1 pick in 2007, mattered.

Last season, the Wolves lost 13 games that they’d led through three quarters. They squandered leads of 10 or more points to lose 18 times. They were getting worse by the end, allowing 100 points or more 30 times in the final 53 games, during which opponents hit 39.1 percent of their 3-pointers. Minnesota ranked 24th in defensive field-goal percentage (.468) and 24th in effective field-goal percentage (.511).

After an admittedly small sample size of two games, but including 27 minutes against a lethal threat, the Wolves rank seventh (.415) and ninth (.462) respectively. Last season, those numbers would have had Minnesota ranked first and second. And nine of the top 10 teams in each category made it to the playoffs (Washington was the exception in both stats).

13 Comments

  1. RJ says:

    Brewer is a great player. Watch him.

  2. okc2014 says:

    Has anyone else had a bad day in 3 years??? Give the guy a break!

  3. Kyle says:

    It is actually the 3rd time all three have posted double-doubles in the same game.

  4. fedizzle says:

    Let’s not overreact, Occasionally KD scores under 20, it was a team effort by Minni to shut him down, not Brewer 1 on 1. Having no Russ and a bunch of jokers on offense made it that much easier to frustrate KD… OKC will not win anything until KD get’s some players who know how to put the ball in the basket, other than Russ

  5. jake s. says:

    the sample size of two games is laughable.

  6. Brian says:

    We were stupid to let Brewer go in free agency and lose Iguodala at the same time, our two best defenders gone in one shot

  7. HoopDreams says:

    I think KD was mad he got shut down lol

  8. Fire Same Presti says:

    Jokelahoma Thunder can’t do anything. Perkins is a ghost out there and the fact they kept him over the #1 SG in the league (James Harden) is why they will never win a championship. Durant and Westbrook will leave town in a few years and OKC is going to go back to a 20 win team. GG Ownership and Sam Presti.

  9. Roy says:

    Minnesota is definitely a playoff time this year. They have a great line up, an up and coming offensive minded PG in Rubio. Signing a solid bruising center for years to come and the best PF in NBA basketball right now. Not to mention a proven scorer in Kmart and a solid wing defender in Corey Brewer. With Derrick Williams as a 6th man.

    7th or 8th seed for sure.