Thunder lose to Wizards 120-98
WASHINGTON (AP) — Russell Westbrook sat down for good midway through the third quarter while Oklahoma City was in the midst of missing 24 consecutive shots — yes, 24! — to trail Washington by 34 points — yes, 34! — as Bradley Beal and John Wall carried the Wizards to a stunningly lopsided 120-98 victory over the Thunder on Monday night.
Westbrook entered the game leading the NBA in scoring average at 31.2 and third in assists at 10.2 per game, along with a total of 26 triple-doubles, but he finished with only 17 points — equaling his second-lowest total of the season — on 5-for-19 shooting. He had four assists and four rebounds.
Westbrook missed nine field-goal attempts in a row during that eye-opening, team-wide drought when the Thunder were being outscored 32-5 from late in the second quarter to late in the third.
In front of a sellout crowd of 20,356, Beal scored 22 points, making 6 of 7 3-point tries. Wall, who sat out practice Sunday with a sprained left ankle, had 15 points and 14 assists.
Markieff Morris scored 23 points, hitting all three of his 3s, and Otto Porter added 18 points and 12 rebounds. The Wizards went 13 of 21 from beyond the arc and sank 61.9 percent of their shots overall.
The Thunder, meanwhile, shot 35.4 percent overall, and their starters went 0 for 13 on 3s.
Maybe Westbrook and Co. were simply spent, physically and emotionally, at the conclusion of an intense three-game stretch. They beat LeBron James and the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers 118-109 on Thursday, then lost to former teammate Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors 130-114 on Saturday in a game that featured plenty of jawing.
The anticipated matchup between All-Star point guards Wall and Westbrook never really materialized. And the Wizards were terrific from the outset on the way to their 19th victory in their past 20 home games, and 10th win in their past 11 games overall.
With Wall directing the show, Washington opened 9 for 9, capped by Morris’ 3 that made it 22-6 after all of 3 1/2 minutes. Beal scored 11 points in that run, while Wall had four assists.
A little more than 2 minutes before the end of the first quarter, Westbrook landed hard on the floor near the basket stanchion after he was fouled by Trey Burke on a breakaway. But Westbrook got right up and made both free throws.
The Wizards were ahead 67-54 at halftime, which arrived after OKC had missed 11 shots in a row. The game was essentially over in the third, when Thunder coach Billy Donovan tried calling three early timeouts that did nothing to get his team going.
It was 91-57 after a 3 by Porter with 6:20 left in the third, and Westbrook took a seat at the end of his team’s bench.
Thunder: Westbrook had 35 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists when Oklahoma City beat Washington 126-115 in OT in the teams’ other meeting this season, on Nov. 30. His season low for points is 14 in a victory over Miami in November.
Wizards: Beal’s first 3 gave him a career high for makes from behind the arc in a season, 139, with 28 games remaining. … Tied a season high with 23 turnovers.
Current Wizards coach and former Thunder coach Scott Brooks, who played guard in the NBA, discussing Wall and Westbrook: “They both play with that pace that I always tell myself, `I’m so glad I don’t play anymore.’ … They play with such speed and force and determination and, with all that being said, under control. At times, it does look a little out of control — and maybe it is, at times — but it’s pretty much controlled craziness. But it works — and it scares a lot of opponents.”
Thunder: Host the New York Knicks on Wednesday night in their final game before the All-Star break.
Wizards: At the Indiana Pacers on Thursday night before heading to the break.
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