Wizards Blow Out Thunder to Win Third In a Row
John Wall celebrates with fans as Washington Wizards routed Oklahoma City Thunder 120-98 during an NBA game at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. on Monday, February 13, 2017. Robert Eubanks/DC Sports BoxWASHINGTON, D.C. - It was déjà vu for the Thunder, as the Wizards (33-21) handed them their second straight blowout loss in a row. Two days after losing at home by 22 points to the Warriors in Kevin Durant’s return, the Wizards defeated the Thunder 120-98 in front of a sellout crowd.
Markieff Morris led all scorers with 23 points as all five Wizards starters finished in double-figures. John Wall added 15 points to go along with 14 assists, and showed no ill effects of the ankle injury that kept him out of practice on Sunday. Bradley Beal finished with 22 points on 8 shots, going 6-for-7 from beyond the arc.
The Wizards gained control early, racing to an early 22-6 lead after starting 4-for-4 from beyond the arc. The Thunder (31-25) climbed back late in the first quarter when the Wizards had a dry spell and went without a field goal for over four minutes.
After allowing the Thunder to pull within 3 in the second quarter while Wall was on the bench, the Wizards went on a 17-7 run to close out the half with a double-digit lead. During the Wizards’ run, over the last seven minutes of the quarter, the Thunder went 2-for-19 from the field.
The poor shooting continued for the Thunder after the half, as the team missed their first 13 shots, allowing the Wizards to close out the game early in the third quarter. The Wizards opened the third quarter on a 24-3 run to take their largest lead of the game, 91-57. The run was capped off by a fast break dunk by Otto Porter Jr. off a between the legs pass by Wall.
“I think we just moved the ball, we kept sharing the ball. We got stops,” said Wall. “Last time we played them, we were up in the fourth quarter and had the chance to win it. We didn’t play the defense we were playing now and weren’t making shots as well as we are now. I think we did everything right, both ends of the floor.”
NBA leading scorer, Russell Westbrook was effectively limited by the Wizards before checking out midway through the third quarter with the game all but over. Westbrook finished 5-for-19 from the field for 17 points to go along with 4 assists and 4 rebounds, all well below his season average. The Wizards held the Thunder to 32% shooting from the field and an abysmal 21.4% from the beyond the arc.
Beal and Morris discussed how the defensive game planned revolved around shutting down Westbrook. “…It definitely starts with [Westbrook], containing him as much as possible. Keeping him out of the paint and making him take a lot of tough jumpers. That is the game we want him to play,” said Beal. “He was not comfortable with it. We made it difficult for him. We made it difficult for their whole offense to really get going, and it was definitely our defense that won the game.”
With the victory, the Wizards won their 24th home game, the most ever for the franchise before the All-Star break. The Thunder have lost three of their last four games.
The Wizards play their last game before the All-Star break on the road against the Indiana Pacers on Thursday evening.
The Thunder play the New York Knicks on the road Wednesday evening.
Written by Hirdesh Matta