- Rookie center Chet Holmgren went through a light pregame workout prior to the Thunder’s win over the Timberwolves on Saturday, per the Associated Press.
- Holmgren, who grew up three miles from the Target Center in Minneapolis, underwent surgery for a Lisfranc injury in his right foot in August. He has also been shooting jumpers at the Thunder’s practice facility, per Cody Taylor of USA Today.
- Coach Mark Daigneault said guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is the catalyst for the Thunder’s ability to stay competitive. “He empowers the environment, he empowers the team,” Daigneault told reporters.
Multiple Timberwolves said they need to make sure to keep their emotions under control to have a fighting chance without forward/center Karl-Anthony Towns. Most were referring to the incident in which center Rudy Gobert was ejected for tripping Thunder forward Kenrich Williams on Saturday.
“That’s something that we got to work on as a team,” center Naz Reid said, via Chris Hine of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “Our veteran guys, they know better. They know they made mistakes, and they know that might’ve cost us moments in the game. We’re not blaming anybody. It is what it is. We just got to be better.”
Gobert was ejected after playing just nine minutes.
“The frustrations boiled over,” coach Chris Finch said, via Hine. “It was not the most mature effort by us. We needed a way more mature effort than that.”
Forward/center Domantas Sabonis isn’t known as a 3-point shooter, but has knocked down 8-of-14 over the last 10 games (through Saturday).
“It’s big,” Sabonis said, via Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee. “The more I can keep shooting them and knocking them down, teams are eventually going to have to respect it, which is going to allow me to be even more of a playmaker. A lot of times, I can’t thread the needle because the big is so far down. Now, he has to be up, to open the room up for everybody.”
- As it stands, the Kings are 12-9 and in fifth place in the West, a surprising start under first-year coach Mike Brown. “We really didn’t have any expectations because we’re a new team and figuring each other out,” guard Malik Monk told reporters. “We were going to have a chance every night because we’ve got great guys that can put the ball in the basket and defend, too.”