Wizards Cast a Spell on the Thunder

By Connor MacKenzie

Two days after Thunder overcome a double-digit deficit to secure their first victory in Portland in 5 years, they show little sense of urgency throughout the game against the Wizards and get wiped off the floor 116-98. Bradley Beal was effective in contributing 25 points, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds. Five players for the Wizards ended up in double figures, including 20 points from Otto Porter Jr. The Wizards bench dismantled the Thunder’s bench by a total of 42 to 22, with a majority of those points coming after the game was all taken over by the Wizards.

Simply put, the Thunder got outworked, hustled, and rebounded. As a perennial top-tier rebounding team, it was quite odd to witness countless missed shots wind up in Wizards players hands. However, when not performing some of the fundamentals such as seeing your man and the ball, finding a body to box out versus looking at the rim while the ball is in flight, it is going to be an uphill battle. The Thunder secured only 41 rebounds (7 offensive) and surrendered 55 rebounds (16 offensive) to Washington. That is not in the Thunder’s DNA to get outworked and not chase those hustle stats that do not show up. But the Thunder aren’t fretting one game they get blown out (and they shouldn’t) at home. ESPN writer for the Thunder, Royce Young, caught up with Russell Westbrook after the game and had this to say, “82 games. You think you’re gonna play good every night, you got another thing coming.”

Westbrook had a slow start shooting (3-11), but found his stroke to hit 6 of his next 12 the rest of the game. He finished with 22 points, 15 rebounds, and 13 assists (8 TOS).

If there’s anything more glaring than getting manhandled on the boards, the Thunder had 13 free throw attempts in the first half, compared to only 6 in the second half. That simply cannot happen. In a tight game against a lesser opponent, the Thunder fell into a trap game and got waxed. Adams was effective with 5-6 shooting for 12 points and 8 rebounds, but they went away from him and limited his touches.

Washington shot 44 percent from the field, 27 percent from 3, and 82 percent from the charity stripe, as compared to the Thunder who shot 43 percent from the field, 40 percent from 3, and 63 percent from the charity stripe.

The Wizards improve to 16-24 overall as the Thunder fall to 25-14 (12-5 at home). The Thunder must get back to their identity of defense, intensity, rebounding and getting to the foul line. Their next game is at home Tuesday against Andrew Wiggins and The Minnesota Timberwolves who stole the hearts of Thunder fans the last time they were at the Peake. Should make for an interesting, hair pulling, heart palpitating contest between these two divisional foes.

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