The Oklahoma City Thunder (31-25) were thoroughly dominated by the streaking Washington Wizards (33-21) 120-98. Despite an early push to make the game competitive, the Thunder just had little in the tank tonight.
Oklahoma City found themselves in a hole to start the game, finding themselves down as much as 16 in the first quarter. A second unit burst led by 5-8 three point shooting from the bench in the first half, game Thunder fans hope for a solid road victory in the first half.
Then the third quarter reared its ugly head again.
While Oklahoma City entered the second half down 12, there was still hope. A 34-19 third quarter squashed any and all hope for a good game.
“We just weren’t ready to play,” Russell Westbrook said, who finished with 17 points and four rebounds and assists each in a season low 24 minutes.
Westbrook’s plus/minus resulted in a career worst -36.
It is easy to assume that the Thunder were simply hungover from the emotional loss Saturday night against the Golden State Warriors. Make no mistake, the Wizards are one of the better teams in the NBA and should have had the Thunder’s full attention. According to their leader, Westbrook, Oklahoma City was not ready to play.
“I think guys have been playing hard, but we’ve gotta consistently play hard,” Anthony Morrow shared. “We didn’t bring that today. We gotta have an edge every time we step on the court.”
Morrow finished with five points on 2-of-8 shooting.
Besides Westbrook, no starter broke double digits in scoring. Midway through the third quarter, when the Thunder were down 26 points, the starters were pulled and did not return to the game.
For a 10 minute game stretch, the Thunder missed 24 consecutive shots. It was that bad.
Billy Donovan revealed prior to the game that he was worried about the Thunder being emotionally drained heading into the game.
“Prior to the game, we were not at the level I am accustomed of seeing. That’s what this NBA season is, 82 games,” Donovan said.
The Wizards were led by John Wall who had 15 points and 14 assists. As a team the Wizards shot a sizzling 62 percent from the three point line. Bradley Beal and Markieff Morris combined for 45 points on 15-of-22 shooting.
Despite the disastrous result, Joffrey Lauvergne had an exceptional game, fishing with 17 points on 6-of-7 shooting. Cameron Payne continued his recent upswing in production by 12 points and shooting 2-of-4 from the three point line. The second year Frenchman was one of the few players who appeared to be in tune with the game.
Oklahoma City will return to the Chesapeake Arena for a Wednesday match against the New York Knicks. It will be the final game before the All-Star break.
KEYS TO THE GAME
Start quickly F
While the Thunder brought the deficit to single digits, the score early in the first at one point was 22-6. The Thunder were not ready for this game and it showed in the opening minutes.
Limit Wizard’s FT attempts F
It had little affect on the game, but Washington’s 28 free throw attempts — and 23 makes — were an indication of the Thunder’s lack of readiness level for the game. Oklahoma City actually shot more three throws — 30 — but the Wizards got to the line too often when it mattered in the close portions of the game.
Hey Bench, show up F
The Thunder scored 60 bench points but it was mainly out of necessity due to Donovan pulling the starters in the third quarter. When Oklahoma City needed a push from their second unit, there was nothing to be found. The loss of Enes Kanter continues to haunt this team weeks after his injury.