Player to Watch
PG John Wall is one of the most dynamic players in the NBA. Through 14 games with Washington this season, Wall is averaging 23.1 points, 8.9 assists, 4.4 rebounds, and 2.0 steals. Russell Westbrook will have his hands full guarding Wall, but the same goes for Wall with guarding Westbrook. Because Westbrook is such an athletic player and effective scorer, Wall will likely exert a lot of energy on the defensive end, which could render him less capable offensively.
Keys to the Game
- Rock the Block: The Wizards are not the strongest rebounding team, ranking 22nd in the NBA with 43.1 rebounds per game, while the Thunder is 4th in the league with 45.6 rebounds per game. During Oklahoma City’s current 3-game win streak, the Thunder has been absolutely obliterating other teams in rebounding by an average margin of 15.3 rebounds.
- Get to the Free Throw Line: Washington ranks 6th in the league in fouls, getting whistled for 21.8 per game. Oklahoma City is not the most efficient team from the charity stripe, making only 73.3% of free throw attempts (26th in the NBA), but the Thunder likes to get to the line, mostly due to Russell Westbrook and his ability to get into the paint. The Thunder need to look to force the Wizards into foul trouble and get in the bonus early to try to find some easy points.
- Beat Down Their Bench: Oklahoma City has quietly turned into a solid bench-scoring team, ranking 13th in the league with 34.9 bench points per game. Meanwhile, Washington has an absolutely awful bench that ranks 29th with 23.6 bench points per game. The Thunder second unit has struggled at times, especially in stopping other teams from scoring, but if they can keep the Wizards bench from being effective while continuing to do what they have done lately on offense, the Oklahoma City bench could have a big night.
Article written by Zack Low. Follow @TheThunderGuys on Twitter and Instagram.