The Washington Wizards traveled to Chesapeake Energy Arena entering the night with a league-high eight-game road losing streak. The Thunder came off a huge road win against Portland in their extended trip away from home, and they looked to take on a cold road Wizards team. In Scott Brooks’s return to his former team, the Wizards outplayed the Thunder on both sides of the floor to take a commanding 116-98 win.
The Thunder had full control early after jumping out to a 6-0 lead to start the game. Steven Adams activated his post game down low scoring OKC’s first 2 buckets while grabbing a steal on the defensive end.
In absence of John Wall, Bradley Beal was forced to kickstart Washington’s offense, but he got out to a slow start after missing his first 3 shots. Steven Adams utilized the size advantage against Thomas Bryant in the paint and shot 4-4 with 10 points in the 1st.
With 6 minutes to go, PG had a miraculous assist to Westbrook who drained the corner three to go up by 8. Beal hit back-to-back threes of his own to answer, which sparked a Washington run to give them a 28-25 lead going into the second.
Washington transitioned its momentum into the second quarter scoring their first 3 baskets. The Thunder went ice cold to open the period, missing 7 straight shots, and they were held without a field goal for 5 straight minutes.
PG converted an and-one to spark OKC’s offense, which was followed by a PG alley-pop to Adams to cut the Washington lead to 5. George caught fire after the momentum swing by hitting back-to-back threes. He finished with 15 in the first half. Bradley Beal, the only Washington player in double digits, kept the lead for Washington alive and finished the half with 18 points. After OKC picked up momentum to close the quarter, Washington held on to the 54-50 lead.
Paul George hit a deep three which was followed by a Westbrook and-one to give OKC an 8-0 run to open the second half. Both teams exchanged baskets for the majority of the third quarter as the lead shifted back and forth several times. Washington broke out an 8-0 in the middle of the quarter as both Otto Porter and Tomas Satornasky hit threes to give the Wizards an 11-point lead.
Westbrook drove to the lane for an absurd circus layup, which contributed to his triple-double midway through the third. Three pointers were exchanged as both teams hit back-to-back shots to close the third. Washington was able to hold on to their 11 point lead going into the fourth 90-79.
OKC lost all momentum entering the fourth as the Wizards started with a 6-0 run to start the quarter to give them their biggest lead of the night at the time of 15 points. PG, Russ, and the starters checked in with 8 minutes left in the 4th to chip away at the deficit. As Jerami Grant and Terrence Ferguson hit promising threes to spark any hopes of a comeback, Jeff Green hit a mile-long three, which seemingly felt like the dagger, to go up by 17.
Satoransky’s two big late buckets forced Billy Donovan to throw the white flag and pull the starters out. The Thunder took the loss in an ugly defeat 116-98.
3 game win streak comes to an end as Thunder falls to the Wizards. pic.twitter.com/72LTpCxb9B— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) January 7, 2019
Thunder Player of the Game:
Russell Westbrook was able to find his rhythm in this one after a tough couple weeks offensively. Although he shot 9-23, he was able to tally a triple-double midway through the third quarter after grabbing his own rebound for the put-back. Russell finished with 22 points, 15 rebounds while dishing out 13 assists. Westbrook will look to keep his momentum in swing after a few atrocious offensive efforts dating back to the Christmas Day matchup with the Rockets
3 Quick Thoughts
- Defensive Struggles: The Thunder couldn’t get a stop to get back into this one as the defensive rhythm could never got pieced together. When the Thunder would hit consecutive shots to spark any sort of run, the Wizards always had an answer.
- Get to the Line: The Wizards converted on 18 free throws to OKC’s 12, which isn’t a terrible margin. But in the third quarter, Washington seemingly put this game away by getting to the line 11 times compared to just twice by OKC. The Thunder could not find any opportunities to get to the charity stripe, which resulted in a large task to come back from 11 points to enter the fourth.
- OKC out-hustled: Washington simply out-hustled the Thunder on Sunday night in many aspects. OKC was outrebounded both offensively and defensively and was out-favored in blocks by 5. Washington was quicker to loose balls and more effective in transition in what may be as a result of OKC’s extended road trip after playing 12 of their last 17 games away from home.
On Tuesday night, the Thunder plays host to the Minnesota Timberwolves, who just announced the firing of head coach Tom Thibodeau. The move comes as a surprise considering the Wolves just defeated the Lakers by 22, but at the same time, the season has not gone quite as expected in Minnesota. This is the second matchup of the season between the two teams, and the Wolves managed to sneak away with a 114-112 win last time they were in OKC just a few weeks ago.
Tip-off is set for 7 PM CT and will be broadcast on Fox Sports Oklahoma. It will also be broadcast on the radio at WWLS 98.1 FM.
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