There was a lot of expected hype coming into this game as Kevin Durant was back in his hometown to face the local team, the Washington Wizards. Well it was all for naught, as this game was over in the first quarter and Durant left the game at halftime with a hamstring injury.
The story of the night, however, was the play of Russell Westbrook. He finished the game with a triple-double that consisted of 22 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds, leading the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 125-101 victory over the Wizards.
Despite playing only 17 minutes tonight, Durant was able to compile a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Oklahoma City’s role players joined the party as Serge Ibaka finished the game with 23 points (9-of-15) and six rebounds, while Dion Waiters added 25 points off the bench on 7-of-10 shooting from the field, including 4-of-5 from three and 7-of-7 from the charity stripe.
Washington came into the game banged up as Bradley Beal (shoulder) and Nene (back spasms) were both out with injuries. Nevertheless, the Wizards played soft and did very few things well on either end of the court. Marcin Gortat and Ramon Sessions led the Wizards in scoring with 15 points apiece. Otto Porter and Gary Neal, who started in place of Beal, added 14 points apiece. John Wall recorded only nine points (4-of-13) and five assists in 25 minutes of play.
The game was tied 13-13 with 6:24 left in the first quarter. But from there on the Thunder would end the quarter on a 24-10 run, giving Oklahoma City a 37-23 lead. Washington cut the deficit to seven points with 9:33 remaining in the first half, but once again the Thunder would pull away as they ended the first half on a 30-19 run.
Even without Kevin Durant in the second half because of a hamstring injury, the Thunder had no problem putting this game away after the intermission. By the end of the game, Oklahoma City would garner a lead as big as 29 points before the final margin of 24 points.
Two glaring stats that was part of Washington’s demise: three-point shooting and rebounding. Oklahoma City was blistering the nets from long range as they went 15-of-23 from three compared to 5-of-24 from Washington. The Thunder crashed the boards as they outrebounded the Wizards 53-to-41.
Washington’s biggest problem this season has been their defense and turning the ball over at a rapid pace. Well the defense was still a major problem as Oklahoma City had open shot after open shot, but the Wizards did win the turnover battle as they finished with eight compared to 12 by the Thunder.
Washington falls to 3-4 on the season as they’ve lost three-straight games, all by at least 20 points. Oklahoma City sits at 5-3 and have bounced back from a three-game losing streak with back-to-back wins, both by at least 20 points.
The Wizards will have plenty of time to fix these problems as their next game isn’t until Saturday at home against the Orlando Magic at 7:00 PM EST. The Thunder will head home and prepare for the Philadelphia 76ers as they play them Friday night at 8:00 PM EST.