Washington Wizards Three Takeaways: Wizards Fall To Thunder In Scott Brooks’ Return To Oklahoma
Washington Wizards fell to the Oklahoma City Thunder in Scott Brooks’ return as Russell Westbrook recorded another triple double.
Coming off an overtime victory against the Sacramento Kings, the Washington Wizards were looking to gain some momentum on the road against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night.
Although OKC has lost some talent this past off-season, Russell Westbrook is averaging a triple-double and has kept the team in the postseason picture single handedly.
Right out of the gate, the Wizards’ offense struggled to keep up with the Thunder. Quickly, the Wizards found themselves in a double-digit deficit.
Scott Brooks, who made his return to Oklahoma for the first time, made some necessary adjustments and the team fought their way back to gain their own lead.
With less than a minute remaining, the Wizards had a three point lead. They needed just one more stop to secure a win. But then Westbrook did what he does, knocking down a game-tying three.
Washington crumbled in overtime and remained winless in Oklahoma. They’ve yet to beat the Thunder away from home.
Westbrook ended the Wizards, 126-115, and ended the night with his fourth straight triple-double – his ninth of the season.
Oladipo is the Wizards kiler
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He led all scorers with 14 points at the half and finished with 25 on 10 of 16 shooting from the field.
Oladipo hit a three to cut Washington’s lead to three with less than three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. He also hit a dagger three to put the Wizards away in overtime.
Defense lost the game again
When they’re locked in, the Washington Wizards have shown flashes of being a solid defensive team.
But then the defense fell apart.
Westbrook will inevitably hit shots, but the last thing the team should do is allow him to get comfortable.
Beal failed to properly close out on the final shot in the fourth quarter and essentially gave Westbrook a clean look to tie the game. From then on, he lit the team up and put the Wizards away.
The small things – like contesting shots with enthusiasm – make a tremendous difference. If Beal hadn’t collapsed at the end, the Wizards would’ve gotten a win.
Late-game offense is a problem
Brooks was criticized for the way the Thunder finished games during his time in Oklahoma City. There were complaints that his offense was too reliant on isolation basketball and he mostly got a pass because Westbrook and Kevin Durant were capable of putting the team on their backs.
Washington doesn’t have that sort of talent, so relying on isolation plays to end games won’t work.
The offense became stagnant and the ball stopped moving at the end. John Wall took a midrange jump shot, Markieff Morris missed a fadeaway from the post and Bradley Beal tried to initiate offense. All of that happened with no ball movement.
Lack of ball movement late in games has to be addressed.
With Wednesday’s loss in the books, the Wizards will head to San Antonio to face the Spurs on Friday.