The Oklahoma City Thunder’s (30-21) NBA leading eight game winning streak came to an end tonight in Washington D.C. as the Wizards (28-22) made plays in the end to win 102-96.
Russell Westbrook had an up-and-down game which saw the reigning MVP record a flagrant foul, a technical foul and shoot 28 percent from the floor. With the Thunder’s leader having an inconsistent night, the burden fell on Paul George to pick up the slack.
The newest addition to the 2018 All-Star Game did not disappoint. George was magnificent in the first half, scoring 28 points on 8-12 shooting. Whether it was spot-up shooting, handling the basketball or defending, George kept Oklahoma City afloat after a sluggish start.
Sadly, that was going to be all.
George only attempted two shots after halftime and zero in the fourth. The Thunder offense went stagnant late when Oklahoma City held a two-possession lead under four minutes. Carmelo Anthony (19 points on 7-of-21 shooting) and Westbrook couldn’t get to the line or make a shot late.
“I thought the difference in the game was that we didn’t execute well down the stretch,” Billy Donovan said in the postgame. “We just didn’t have very good quality of possessions and it got us in the end.”
The Wizards were playing without All-Star John Wall who underwent a knee scope procedure today. Bradley Beal scored 21 points and Otto Porter, Jr. added 25.
Oklahoma City was bad from deep, finishing the game 9-for-32 from beyond the arc.
The Thunder turned the ball over 20 times and only notched 19 assists. The Wizards took care of the ball, only surrendering the ball 12 times and adding 27 assists.
“We turned the ball over too much,” Donovan added. “Overall we just didn’t execute well.”
It was an uphill battle from the start. The Wizards hit their first four three pointers in the first quarter and led by as many as nine. It wasn’t until late in the second quarter that the Thunder were able to tie or take the lead. From then, both teams would go on small mini-runs.
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The Wizards hit their first four shots from deep but only made three the rest of the game. Forcing their opponent to 28 percent is nothing to sneeze at. Josh Huestis, George and Jerami Grant did a fantastic job of closing out and forcing the Wizards into tough shots.
The Wizards won the bench battle 23-20 but Oklahoma City’s bench was greatly hindered by Raymond Felton having a bad shooting night. Felton was 0-for-4 and finished with four points and three assists. Huestis, who played great defense for most of the night, had a bad ending to the game where he committed a turnover and fouled the ball-handler in the bonus. From there, Washington never looked back.
OKC won the battle on the boards, notching 52 boards and 14 offensive rebounds — Steven Adams had six offensive boards. The Thunder lost this game due to poor offense late, turnovers and some inconsistent officiating. Rebounding, perimeter defense and bench production had little to do with it.We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Our Podcast is on iTunes. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!