The Thunder hadn’t won a game in the District of Columbia in years, and it became apparent early on 13 points in the first quarter that they weren’t going to win this one. The Wizards calmly and efficiently snuffed the occasional OKC rally; the Thunder were able to pull to within one late in the second, but no closer, and Washington evened up their record (23-23) and the season series (1-1) with a 96-81 thrashing that ended the OKC win streak at ten.
I suspect that the game plan was to concentrate on the deadly Bradley Beal, a certified sharpshooter. And Beal was indeed held to five points. However, the other four starters finished in double figures, as did Martell Webster to lead the bench, with John Wall (17 points, 15 assists, not to mention six steals) and Marcin Gortat (14 points, 13 rebounds) collecting double-doubles. Trevor Ariza was the high scorer, with 18. Still, the Wizards’ offense may not have been as pivotal as tonight’s Telltale Statistic: OKC committed 21 turnovers, more than twice as many as did Washington.
And you have to figure that any night when Kevin Durant puts up 26 points and still finishes -16, which is where he was when he exited with 6:26 left, is not going to end well. Serge Ibaka contributed 14 points and four blocks, the entire Thunder bench 21 points and one block. Nor did the long ball help them: the team that made 16 threes against Miami came up with only four against Washington, in 24 tries. (KD was 0-6.) Perhaps there’s just something about the Verizon Center, although being in D.C. seems frightening enough.
But forget the East for a while, and by “a while” I mean a little less than a week: the Grizzlies will be visiting OKC on Monday night, the Timberwolves on Wednesday, and then it’s off to Orlando on Friday.