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Apparently, You Can Spell Thunder Without the 'D' | January

The Oklahoma City Thunder got a career best performance from Kevin Durant, who set highs with 47 points and 18 rebounds. He also had a pair of steals, assists and blocks, while connecting on 15 of 28 field goals, including 4 of 8 from behind the three point line and 13 of 14 from the free throw line. The team scored 118 points in an overtime win.

What is somewhat discouraging is that they needed each and every one of those 118 to defeat the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves on the road. You see, even with Durant's career night, the Thunder were only able to hold on for a one point overtime win over the T-wolves.

That is not necessarily something to be all that confident about, as this team is still not playing consistent defense.

Maybe Jerry West should come out and knock how this team plays on the defensive end of the floor. It worked for the Los Angeles Lakers. Maybe it would mean more if the criticism of this team came from Rick Lund or Vin Baker. Actually, wait. That could never come from Baker.

The fact that the Thunder are winning is very nice, but it cannot be lost on anyone that this team struggles mightily to play solid defense.

The offense is positively explosive, at least at times. When this team plays against an opponent who also plays porous defense, they can score with anyone in the league. You will be able to win some games that way. But this style of basketball will earn you an early exit from the playoffs, and this team is too good for that this year.

Scoring is great. Durant leads the league in points, and Russell Westbrook continues to play at an All-Star pace. He had 16 points and 8 assists last night, although he also turned the ball over 8 times. Jeff Green has come up with some big shots, and James Harden has been very serviceable in a reserve role.

But defense wins championships. Everyone knows that by now.

And that is what continues to bite the Thunder in the backside far too often. Most notably, their struggles to defend against bigger bodies who can score inside continue. Green simply cannot stop them. We have seen what Zach Randolph of the Memphis Grizzlies has done against Oklahoma City this season. He has absolutely dominated them inside. Last night, my point was made clear again - this time by Kevin Love.

Love has had his breakout campaign this season, and he went off for 31 points and 21 rebounds last night, including 8 boards on the offensive end of the court. Michael Beasley also went off for 30 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists. Combined, the pair of 6'10'' forwards finished with 61 points on 26 for 48 field goal shooting, while pulling down 30 rebounds. Overall, the Timberwolves grabbed 10 more rebounds than Oklahoma City.

It is always nice to watch the Thunder win, but this style of play is going to catch up with them sooner rather than later. 

* Make sure to follow Kelley on Twitter, as he was named One of the 1,000 Most Influential Sports Writers on Twitter.