D.C. Council Opening Statements: Wizards vs Thunder, Game 46
Teams: Wizards vs. Thunder
Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
Venue: Verizon Center, Washington, D.C.
Television: CSN, FS Oklahoma HD
Radio: WFED-AM 1500 The Fan, WWLS 98.1FM OKC
Spread: Oklahoma City fav’d by 5 points
Wizards tickets … anyone?
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The Washington Wizards host the red-hot Oklahoma City Thunder tonight at the Verizon Center. The Wizards are returning home from a decent road trip, where they split four games. Their wins over Golden State and Phoenix were two of their most impressive victories of the season. In both of their defeats, to Utah and the L.A. Clippers, they battled until the end.
Washington strangely continues to struggle at home and has a losing record at the Phone Booth. Their inability to inch above a .500 winning percentage is largely a byproduct of them giving up their accrued road advantage in front of their home fans.
Oklahoma City comes in scorching—winners of 10 straight games—and Kevin Durant has been dominating national sports headlines with his unreal play. For once in our fake arguing sports media landscape, there is a legit debate of whether Durant has supplanted Lebron James as the most valuable player in the NBA. (I still give the nod to LeBron, but it is close.) Durant’s streak of 30-point games came to end on Friday night in Brooklyn, at 12 straight, because he sat out the entire fourth quarter in OKC’s blowout victory over the Nets.
In the previous meeting between the Wiz and Thunder, Oklahoma City prevailed 106-105 in overtime. The Wizards blew a late lead and poor free throw shooting (13-26) doomed their chance at an upset. Durant hit a game-tying 3 in regulation and this play on Ariza sealed it in the extra period.
This is how Kyle Weidie described Bradley Beal’s monster game in Oklahoma City back on Nov. 10, 2013:
Bradley Beal has officially arrived. The NBA soph scored a career-high 34 points in OKC (his first 30-point game ever) on 23 attempts, 6-for-8 from deep. He showed the ability to score out of set plays, the prettiest stroke in a Washington uniform since Jeff Malone, and on occasion displayed the ability to slash to the hoop or create a jump shot look off the dribble. Beal also helped out on the boards more than usual with a season-high six rebounds.
“Durant has scored 36.7 per game while making 43.6 percent from 3-point range over his last 15… The league’s scoring leader has averaged 32.3 points on 52.6 percent shooting—including 12 for 28 from beyond the arc—in his last four visits to the nation’s capital.” (Via NBA.com)
Durant loves repping his home area of Washington, D.C., and this week was doing interviews in a Redskins hat. During the summer of the 2011 lockout, Durant was so popular at the Goodman and Drew League battle in D.C. I thought that he could run for political office here someday. Durant genuinely loves his D.C. and Maryland people, and they adore him for not forgetting his roots (Seat Pleasant, Maryland, in Prince George’s County, to be exact).
While this does set up as a possible let down game for the Thunder, the Durant “home factor” could play a role. Wiz followers hope Durant does not show out for his peeps like Jeff Green did for the Celtics.
Russell Westbrook is still out with an injury so we will not have a replay of this double-ejection pushing match again with Nene.
Beal Game Winner.
Wall to Beal.
Wall 3 Ball.