National Basketball Association
Thunder-Wizards Preview
National Basketball Association

Thunder-Wizards Preview

Published Nov. 9, 2015 5:49 p.m. ET

Kevin Durant is reportedly the apple of the Washington Wizards' collective eye, though he's still the opponent - for now, at least.

Durant leads the Oklahoma City Thunder into D.C. on Tuesday night in what will be his final regular-season game in his hometown before he becomes a free agent.

The Thunder (4-3) ended a three-game losing streak by shooting 52.1 percent in a 124-103 win against Phoenix on Sunday. Durant scored 32 on 12-of-19 shooting and grabbed 11 rebounds for his second double-double, and is again playing at an MVP-caliber level. He's averaging 30.1 points while shooting 50.3 percent, including 42.2 from 3-point range.

Oklahoma City forced 23 turnovers, contributing to a season-high 27 fast-break points. Russell Westbrook scored 21, while Enes Kanter also had 21 in 28 minutes off the bench.


"We did a better job of being aggressive and not letting people come at us, which led to us doing what we do - getting out into transition and getting steals," said Westbrook, who had 13 assists and leads the NBA with 10.9 per game.

The attention shifts to the nation's capital, where all eyes figure to be on Durant. He'll be an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career next summer, and the Wizards have handled personnel moves in a way that allows them the flexibility they'll need to pursue him.

He scored 34 in a 105-103 overtime victory at Washington on Jan. 21, a game that saw a manipulated image of Durant wearing a Washington jersey in a sponsored promotion on the Verizon Center video screen.

"You only get this opportunity once (a year). I was just happy I got to play in front of them (friends and family), and seeing my brother courtside and all my family, it was cool to get a win in front of them," Durant said. "Everybody was here, so I tried to focus on them and not worry about all that other stuff."

Durant's 30.5 scoring average against the Wizards marks his second-highest against one opponent, trailing only his 31.2 against Indiana. He's also scoring 31.5 over his last six trips to Washington.

The Wizards (3-3) have dropped two in a row while committing 50 turnovers that led to 57 points for the opposition. Though Bradley Beal and John Wall are averaging 22.7 and 19.2 points, they've made for a mistake-prone backcourt at times, combining for 8.5 turnovers per game.

Washington's 26 turnovers in Saturday's 114-99 loss at Atlanta were a season high, and they average a league-worst 19.7.

"A lot of (the turnovers) I've never seen at this level," coach Randy Wittman said. "I'd rather they threw the ball up in the upper deck 26 times so at least I could get the defense set."

Saturday's frequent mistakes overshadowed Otto Porter's career-high 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting.

"We had careless turnovers. Kind of shot ourselves in the foot," Porter said. "(It's) something that we can control. I feel like in the next couple games we're going to focus on that a lot more."

Oklahoma City, which is 3-1 on the road, is averaging 18.1 turnovers.

Wall is shooting 31.5 percent in eight career meetings with the Thunder, who have won nine of the last 12 in the series.


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