OKC Thunder (16-14, 8-7 road) at Washington Wizards (10-19, 5-7 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 106.4 (17th), Wizards – 104.6 (22nd)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 104.5 (8th), Wizards – 108.0 (20th)
Pace: Thunder – 92.1 (20th), Wizards – 94.3 (9th)
View from the enemy: Truth About It
I always like it when players get to go home and play. Tonight, Jeff Green and Kevin Durant are both back in their hometown to play professional basketball. It has to be a nice feeling. But it often worries me too. A lot of times, you see guys press and try too hard because they feel just that little tinge of pressure to perform in front of friends and family. Hopefully, we don’t see that tonight.
Because after earning the first three-game win streak, Oklahoma City has a real shot at four straight. But this game feels like a trap. Washington is talented, and their 10-19 record is a horrible indication of the talent on the roster. That said, they don’t play hard every night. They don’t max out effort. And coming off an overtime loss in Memphis, we might be fortunate to see the flat Wizards this evening. Because when they really, really want to, they can be good.
The Wizards coming in: As mentioned, Washington is coming off an overtime loss against Memphis last night. In their last five, the Wiz are 2-3 with wins against Milwaukee and Philly.THE MATCHUPS
The Wizards’ starting five is pretty good. Gilbert Arenas, Antwan Jamison, Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood and Randy Foye make a nice unit. But that bench. It’s bad. Major advantage for the Thunder there. James Harden will certainly play better than his 0-10 night last night and with Serge Ibaka back to playing well and Nick Collison’s steady contributions, that’s where OKC can likely take over this game.
The thing I like about the matchup overall is the Wizards don’t defend. And we know about OKC’s success when scoring 100. I would assume the Thunder will get there tonight. Butler can’t guard Durant. Arenas probably won’t try to guard Westbrook. Jamison is a pretty hard worker so he’ll give a good show on Jeff Green, but up and down the list, the Thunder have opportunity to score.
The first meeting, OKC blasted Washington 127-108 as Durant notched 35 and Westbrook 26. Again, I fear this game because the Wiz are decent at home, but with the way OKC defends and the way Washington doesn’t, I’d expect the Thunder to have some success offensively. It’s about shutting down the weapons for the Wiz, or just hoping they don’t show up.
Tip at 6:00 CST. Go Focus.