Your superstars can be out but that doesn’t mean you’re out. The Oklahoma City has been witness to that for many moons. That was no different on Sunday night as the Washington Wizards beat the Thunder 116-98 at the ‘Peake.

Oklahoma City trailed by as many as 23 in the game and never seemed to pull off one of those patented runs Oklahoma City has been known for this season.

“82 games,” Russell Westbrook said. “You think you’re going to play good every night, you’ve got another thing coming.”

With the loss, Oklahoma City drops to 25-14 on the season and they’re third in the Western Conference playoff race.

The 18-point loss is the Thunder’s largest loss since a 32-point drumming from the Warriors in Feb. 2018.

Turnovers, or thereof the lack of turnovers, was the real point here. Oklahoma City only forced nine turnovers, a season low. It’s the lowest amount of turnovers for an opponent since the Thunder only forced nine in a win over the Kings in Feb. 2018.

“We turned the ball over too much, at least I did,” Westbrook said. “That’s the story of the game.”

Westbrook turned it over eight times, despite the triple-double. He finished with 22 points, 15 rebounds and 13 assists.

The Thunder fought back, in the second half, eventually taking the lead 65-63 with 7:41 left in the third quarter. It appeared for all of their faults within the game, they fought back and and had the lead.

It was all downhill from there.

Washington outscored Oklahoma City 20-6 over the next six minutes, essentially putting the game out of reach for the Thunder by the end of the third quarter.

“We did well on the road,” Paul George said. “We had some big games that we won and just one of those nights you come home and you see an opponent like the Wizards. You just fall into that trap.”

It was Washington’s board domination that limited the Thunder’s ability for second chance points. The second best offensive rebounding team in the NBA was held to only seven. Steven Adams, the league’s foremost authority on offensive boards had zero. It’s the first time since Nov. 5, 2017 against Portland, where Adams didn’t have an offensive rebound.

No possession epitomized the game more than mid-fourth where the Wizards miss a couple of shots but the Wizards kept fighting their way to the rebound. They got off three offensive rebounds and ended with an open Jeff Green three-pointer. It put the Wizards up 20 again.

“I don’t think we played well enough to put ourselves in a position to win the game,” Thunder head coach Billy Donovan said. “Washington played well. We didn’t rebound well. We didn’t defend well. We didn’t do anything well.”

The Thunder will host the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night at the ‘Peake. Oklahoma City could use a strong night’s rest after the demoralizing loss. That game is scheduled to tip-off at 7 p.m.

It’s Washington’s first ever win in Oklahoma City. Ever. Not even when the Hornets rented the ‘Peake. They were a combined 0-11 before Sunday’s win over the Thunder.

“We know what we are capable of,” Westbrook said. “We just take this one and move on to the next.”

That’s all you can do with losses like this. You take the result. You throw out the tape and the result and move on. It’s a loss and nothing more.

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Chuck Chaney

Founder & Editor-in-Chief.
Member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.