It seems the Thunder suffered from a slight hangover after Saturday night’s game in OKC against Cupcake and friends. They played, in my opinion, their worst game all season in D.C. against the Wizards.
The Wizards had been red hot coming into this matchup, winning 9 of their last 10. While the Thunder faced off against extremely tough competition in Cleveland and Golden State in their past two games.
Washington started off the game hot, converting on their first 9 shots from the field. Bradley Beal couldn’t miss from deep and with his primary defender, Andre Roberson, heading to the bench early in the first with two fouls, there was no one to cool him off. Along with Beal, Markieff Morris and John Wall played extremely well in the first half.
Morris was able to force Sabonis into foul trouble, and despite Jerami Grant doing his best to body up the Wizards’ forward, Morris was able to get to his spots in the mid-range and convert. Wall was getting the Wizards’ into their sets and maintaining a good flow offensively. His ball handling and superb passing is fun to watch. Not to mention his, Westbrook-like speed with the ball in his hands.
For the Thunder, Westbrook was able to score getting to the line, but he wasn’t shooting particularly well. He didn’t get much help from anyone, as the Thunder shot poorly (worse than usual) from the field, allowing the Wizards to camp both Gortat and Morris in the lane. As we’ve seen teams do this season, and as the Warriors executed exceptionally well on Saturday, packing the paint causes the Thunder to become stagnant on offense. The poor shooting, led to a clogged paint which in turn led to Russ forcing passes that weren’t there and the ones that were there, the Thunder were unable to finish at the rim. It seemed like the Thunder missed so many shots from close range tonight.
Sabonis was aggressive on offense in the first half, despite getting into some foul trouble. It was good to see this from Domas in a game where the Thunder were obviously struggling from the field, Sabonis was not afraid to keep shooting. In addition, Adams played decent in the first half, finishing with 6 points and 9 rebounds, but he too missed some from close range and got lost on the pick and roll a couple of times on defense.
Joffrey Lauvergne was able to give the Thunder a little spark off the bench with 7 points in the half. The Thunder reserve unit ran several sets through Joffrey, as they were doing with Kanter before his injury, and it worked on a few occasions. Joffrey does not possess the offensive scoring ability or passing prowess that Kanter does, but he made the most of his skill set at times in the first half.
Heading into the locker room, the Thunder were down 67-54.
Coming out for the second half, the Thunder picked up exactly where they left off… missing every shot they took. The Thunder went on to miss 24 shots in a row… 24 shots… in a row. It was the sloppiest, ugliest stretch of offensive basketball I’ve seen the Thunder play this season. The drought was finally ended by Semaj Christon… yeah, I know, weird night.
On the other side of the ball the Thunder were unable to slow down the Wizard’s hot shooting. They finished shooting 57.5% from the field, including 61.9% from 3 (13 of 21). If Bradley Beal (22 points, 6 – 7 from 3) wouldn’t have had to come out due to foul trouble a couple of times and if it wouldn’t have been as big of a blowout, Beal might’ve gone for 81. He was NBA Jam-style, on fire. After John Wall (15 points and 14 assists) made this pass….
It started getting out of hand, and the Thunder looked like they wanted to quit. The TNT cameras picked up Billy D on the sideline and he made a face like he was ready to pack it in too.
The lead stayed around 30 points heading into the 4th and the Thunder decided to go with Kyle Singler and crew for the rest of the night. Scott Brooks went on to pick up the win against his former team in impressive fashion. For the Thunder, Russ finished with 17 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists in 24 minutes and Lauvergne had a solid night adding 17 points and 6 rebounds off the bench on 6 of 7 shooting.
This was a tough one to watch, and not what you want to see after the loss to Golden State last Saturday. I thought there was a chance the Thunder could come out flat in this one, but I wasn’t expecting anything like this. The guys will need to clear their minds and come out aggressive against the Knicks on Wednesday.
- The jerseys the Wizards wore tonight were awful. I don’t know what they were going for, but it wasn’t working for me.
- The Phoenix Outlaws, Gortat and Morris, both had solid nights. Gortat finished with 12 points and 5 rebounds and Morris had 23 points and 6 rebounds. Morris has been feeling it lately and it looks like he’s bought into Scott Brook’s system. That’s a scary thought because that seemed to be the big flaw in his game, inability to buy into a team mindset. In addition, the Polish Hammer has been having a great season, averaging career highs in several categories and being a force in the pick-and-roll with John Wall.
- John Wall apparently playing with a bad ankle. Didn’t seem to bother him much.
- The Wizards were moving the ball really well on offense. The Thunder didn’t play great D, and weren’t closing out very well at times, but the Wizards were also hitting some tough, contested shots. Their ball movement created open looks, but they were hitting everything.
- The Thunder fouled… a lot. This seems to be becoming a trend. However, the refs were making some strange calls tonight both ways. The first half seemed to last forever with all the stoppage.
- The Wizards were sending 2, sometimes 3 guys at Adams when he would catch the ball inside. He was still able to muscle his way inside to score, but they were making it tough for the Big Kiwi.
- Russ was active early on the defensive end, and this was big for the Thunder with Roberson on the bench in foul trouble. But, as the game wore on, he got lazier and made several mistakes leading to Wizard points.
- Sabonis and Morrow ran, very quickly, to Russ to pick Russ up after he fell on a hard foul in the first.
- Bradley Beal already set his singe season career record in 3-point makes and attempts. That’s a combination of both health and production this season. He’s having a great season… really, really wish he was wearing a Thunder uniform.
- Oladipo was pretty much invisible on offense in this one finishing with 6 points on 2 of 6 shooting.
- Payne just looks like he is going through the motions out there. He’s looked like that most of the time he’s played this season (aside from Cleveland). It’s like he’s trying to make the pass he’s supposed to make, without looking for a better pass or a different option in the set. He isn’t very decisive on the pick-and-roll/pick-and-pop either. He wasn’t able to get the ball quickly enough to Joffrey on a couple of pop’s to where he could get off a clean shot. It’s boring basketball to watch and isn’t helping the offensive production of the second unit.
- Billy went with “Robe” instead of “Rob”…
- Per NewsOK’s Erik Horne, the Wizards honored some former players during a timeout. Apparently Christian Laettner got some boos.
- Adams rolled his ankle tonight. It looked bad but he kept playing. We will see if anything comes from it but it didn’t look like it felt good.
- On a lighter note, this guy is going to be in the dunk contest.
Next Up: Wednesday in OKC against the Knicks at 8:30 CST