Thunder 103, Wizards 80
If Kevin Durant has his heart set on a third straight NBA
scoring title, you might ask why he took only 10 shots Wednesday
against the Washington Wizards.
No worries. The Thunder’s star player is always
Durant scored 20 points to lead an efficient offense in Oklahoma
City’s 103-80 rout of the Wizards, snapping a two-game losing
streak to Washington.
The Thunder’s so-called ”Big Three” – Durant, Russell
Westbrook and Kevin Martin – combined for 59 points on just 27
shots and the Thunder led by double digits for most of the second
Oklahoma City remains 1 1/2 games behind San Antonio for the top
spot in the Western Conference after the Spurs held on to beat the
Denver Nuggets 100-99.
”Shots are going to come around for me,” Durant said. ”Points
are going to come around for me. It was balanced tonight. . Who
cares? We won the basketball game. I’m happy for our guys coming
out and responding after us losing to them.”
Durant was the only Oklahoma City player to reach double figures
in shots. Westbrook, who scored 21 points, did so on eight field
goal attempts, while Martin, who had 18 points, took nine shots.
Oklahoma City shot 46 percent from the field and went 37-of-41 from
the free throw line, compared to 32.1 percent (21-of-29) for the
Durant hit all 10 of his free throws and Westbrook was 10-of-11
at the line.
”When you don’t have to take the ball out of the net, you get
an opportunity to use your athleticism and get out in transition,”
Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said. ”We were really good with
that. We’re fast. Our first three steps can get down to half-court
pretty quick and then we put pressure on the defense. It’s all
about defending. It’s all about rebounding and getting out on the
Washington had taken its previous two games against Oklahoma
City, winning the only meeting during the lockout-shortened 2011-12
season before a 101-99 victory in Washington on Jan. 7 – the second
played without point guard John Wall.
Wall, coming off 47 points in a win over Memphis, overcame
3-of-18 shooting to finish with 18 points and 12 assists, but he
had limited help. Numerous injuries and illness left the Wizards
with only eight players in uniform.
Washington was missing Trevor Ariza (flu), Leandro Barbosa (torn
left knee ligament), Bradley Beal (sprained left ankle), Nene (sore
right knee), Martell Webster (abdominal strain) and A.J. Price
(sort right groin).
”I was as proud of these guys tonight as I was our last game
against Memphis,” Washington coach Randy Wittman said. ”It’s not
about your wins and losses. It’s about how you play. We went out
tonight with eight guys and a lot of our key guys down and we
”We didn’t have a good shooting night and this is a good team.
If you get them to the free-throw line 41 times on top of that,
it’s hard to beat them.”
The Thunder trailed briefly during the opening four minutes and
the Wizards hung close for a while. Wall, despite shooting 1-of-11
from the field, still almost had a double-double by halftime,
hitting eight of 11 free throws for 10 points to go with nine
An early 8-0 run put Oklahoma City up 10-5 and the Thunder never
trailed again. The Thunder built their lead to 45-34 after two free
throws by Westbrook with 4:57 left in the first half and was up
53-45 at halftime. Westbrook had 15 points at halftime.
Consecutive 3-pointers by Westbrook and Thabo Sefolosha put
Oklahoma City ahead 70-54 with 7:20 left in the third quarter and
the Wizards never cut the margin to single digits the rest of the
”We just couldn’t get anybody hot,” Wittman said.
Oklahoma City has won nine of its last 10 home games and in the
nine victories they’ve won by an average of 22 points.
”I like the way we’re moving the ball,” Durant said. ”I like
the way we’re helping each other out on defense and talking. If we
can keep that up no matter what, we’ll be fine. Right now, I know
we love to win basketball games, but it’s about bettering our
habits. There’s 10 games left and we want to continue playing
sound, solid defense, moving the ball on offense and going out
there and wreaking havoc, getting steals and getting blocked shots
and try to get some easy points.”
Garrett Temple scored 13 points for the Wizards, while Cartier
Martin and Kevin Seraphin each had 12 and Trevor Booker 10.
Kendrick Perkins had 11 rebounds for the Thunder and Emeka
Okafor grabbed 10.
Notes: Among those in attendance was Oklahoma State basketball
coach Travis Ford, who had one of the nation’s top freshmen this
season in Marcus Smart. Smart hasn’t declared yet if he’ll enter
the upcoming NBA draft. Ford spoke briefly with Thunder general
manager Sam Presti . Wittman, an Indiana product, was critical of
former Indiana coach Kelvin Sampson before the game. When asked
about the Hoosiers’ success thus far in the NCAA tournament,
Wittman called it `’really gratifying” and said Indiana has
recovered from NCAA sanctions imposed for violations that occurred
during Sampson’s time as coach. Wittman said Indiana had `’a rich
tradition that was built up over 30, 40, 50 years and in the matter
of 18 months, it was torn completely down.” Sampson is now an
assistant coach with the Houston Rockets . Washington has won 14
games this season against Western Conference foes, the most for the
Wizards since winning 14 during the 2006-07 season . The Thunder
recorded their 51st straight regular-season sellout at Chesapeake
Energy Arena, with 37 of those this season . Backup guard Derek
Fisher scored two points in 14 minutes of action for Oklahoma City,
his first points in five games.