MINNESOTA'S J.J. Barea scored 14 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter as the Timberwolves defeated visiting Oklahoma City, 99-93, to end the Thunder's 12-game winning streak.
Kevin Love had 28 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists and Nikola Pekovic had 24 points and 10 rebounds for Minnesota. But it was Barea who was the key, scoring 12 straight at one point for the Wolves to hold off the team with the best record in the league.
Kevin Durant had 33 points, seven rebounds and six assists and Russell Westbrook had 30 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists for the Thunder (21-5), which had not lost a game since Nov. 23 at Boston.
Before the game, the Timberwolves waived Josh Howard, who tore the ACL in his right knee last Friday in New Orleans.
It was the latest setback for the 32-year-old forward who suffered a torn ACL in right knee while with Washington in 2010. He played 43 games with the Utah Jazz last year but was an unsigned free agent at the start of the 2012-13 season.
"I feel really bad for him," coach Rick Adelman said. "He worked so hard to bring himself back. It's just a shock."
Howard was brought in last month after Chase Budinger tore the meniscus in his left knee. He averaged 6.7 points and 3.3 rebounds in 11 games this season, emerging as a valuable defender on the perimeter against bigger guards and small forwards.
With Howard out, Andrei Kirilenko is Adelman's only real option to guard the aggressive small forwards and shooting guards that are too big for Luke Ridnour and Barea to handle.
Thursday night, Kirilenko had nine points in 39 minutes.
In another game *
At Dallas, LeBron James scored 24 points and added nine rebounds and five assists and the Miami Heat rolled over the Mavericks, 110-95. Dwyane Wade added 19 points and Chris Bosh chipped in 17 for the Heat. Jae Crowder's 15 points led Dallas.
Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said that Derrick Rose is "doing great" in his rehab from ACL surgery, and he's hoping Rose will return in the second half of the season.
Rose tore his ACL on April 28 during a playoff game, and underwent surgery May 12, and he was expected to be out 8 to 12 months.
* The NBA's All-Star Saturday night, which is on Feb. 16 in Houston this season, is adding a team component, with the Eastern and Western Conference competing for $500,000 in charity.
The conferences will earn points based on the results of the night's four events: the Shooting Stars, the Skills Challenge, the three-point contest and the slam dunk contest.
* Dallas Mavericks point guard Derek Fisher will miss at least three games because of a strained right knee.
He was hurt in the first quarter of Tuesday's win over the Sixers. The team says there is no timetable for his return and Fisher will be re-evaluated next week.