It can't be true. There's no way. The Thunder are NOT about to become the laughingstock of the NBA. They are NOT about to become known as the team that finally ended the Wizard's winless streak on the road.
A great game, but it's just another close game in a streak of close games from the Thunder. I almost took this one for granted, but when you're in the Myriad with the crowd going insane, it doesn't matter if it's a regular season game against the Wizards or a crucial playoff game against the Lakers. It's always exciting, and everyone's pumped up.
I don't even know how to begin to describe tonight's game. The Thunder were playing horribly defensively for most of the game, and the Wizards were constantly finding ways to score on offense. Their main catalyst was Trevor Booker who played well late in the game, at one point having more points than Kevin Durant. He mainly got nice cut plays to the basket while the Thunder weren't defending the interior at all. They also got a huge amount of help from Nick Young, who shot a whopping 33 shots. He had his moments, and sometimes, his stop and pop game looked petter than Durant's.
John Wall was just kind of "there" for the Wizards. his game wasn't overly amazing, and I once saw him blow a wide-open layup. the trials and tribulations of being a rookie, I suppose. Andray Blatche and Rashard Lewis added points when they needed to, but Lewis played a puzzling 50 minutes while shooting terribly from the floor. The Wizards backups were "there" as best, but a huge hindrance at worst. Yi Jianlian looked extremely lazy, unwilling to go for a rebound or defensive play unless he knew he'd get a putback or block. Al Thornton his a few shots, but was a defensive liability. Mustafa Shakur, Kevin Seraphin, and Hilton Armstrong contributed virtually nothing.
Below: Problems with the Wizards, Problems with the Thunder, Highlights, Awards!
My point here is that the Wizards were basically relying on volume shooting a a couple of trick plays on the inside to get by. That's it. The heroes of tonights game weren't John Wall and Andray Blatche, they were Nick Young and Trevor Booker. And that says something about the defense of the Thunder on the interior and without Thabo Sefolosha.
But it wasn't only the Thunder's defense that was lacking. If the Thunder were playing at the level they were playing two weeks ago, they could have scored 130 against this team in regulation. Harden and Green were getting very few opportunities on offense, while Daequan Cook would hoist up shots and miss far too many. Durant was MIA for much of the first three quarters, leaving Westbrook to shoulder the offensive load. Long story short, there were really only two offensive options for Oklahoma City heading down the stretch (the last player not named Durant or Westbrook to score was Green with 4:28 to go in the fourth), and this caused huge problems.
Rebounding was another huge issue. The stat sheet shows a relatively equal game, but in crunch time, the Wizards got a ridiculous amount of offensive rebounds. Luckily for us, they always seemed to blow their second chances.
Nevertheless, the important thing is that the Thunder won. It wasn't pretty, and the Wizards had to hand the game to us on a silver platter several times for it to happen. The Thunder won on talent alone, and nothing more.
Let's just take this win and hope for some sort of Deus Ex Machina against the Heat on Sunday. Because we're probably going to fall. Hard.
Enjoy the highlights....
Thunder Wonder: Russell Westbrook, 35 Points, 13 Rebounds, 13 Assists, 2 Blocks.
Thunder Down Under: Kevin Durant, 40 Points, 7 Rebounds, 1 Assist, 1 Steal.
Thunder Blunder: Daequan Cook, for missing way too many shots and playing atrocious defense on Nick Young.
Thunder Plunderer: Trevor Booker, 21 Points, 12 Rebounds.
Next Game: Versus the Miami Heat, Sunday, January 30th, 2010, 12 PM Central Standard Time.