The Oklahoma City Thunder used a 20-9 run in the final 5:35 of regulation and captured a 106-105 overtime victory over the Washington Wizards Sunday at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.
For the first 3 1/2 quarters, this game was Bradley Beal's and the Wizards' for the taking. However, a Russell Westbrook and Nene Hilario fourth quarter skirmish sparked Oklahoma City's final run in regulation, as well as a pair of big three's from Jeremy Lamb and Kevin Durant.
What is your initial reaction to tonight's result?
The Wizards are much better than they were a season ago. Same goes for Bradley Beal, who has improved tremendously since last year.
For over three quarters, the Wizards and Beal out-played the Thunder. Nene and Gortat schooled Ibaka, Perkins and Adams while Beal and Ariza knocked down shot after shot and executed back-cut after back-cut. Washington moved the ball around the arc with ease and in turn forced the Thunder's defenders to chase the rock, leaving open shots. And if the Wizards had just hit half of the free throws they missed, they would have won in regulation.
My second reaction to tonight's result is: Kevin Durant.
That's it. Just Kevin Durant.
What was, overall, the main reason why the Thunder won?
Washington missing 13 free throws had plenty to do with the result, however, the skirmish between Westbrook and Nene seemed to spark things for the Thunder. Westbrook got caught-up standing over Al Harrington. Nene, standing right next to the players, looked to have given Westbrook a slight shove, sending the point guard to the ground. In reaction, Westbrook jumped up and pushed Nene in the chest before each player received their second technical, which necessitated mandatory ejections.
The Thunder, down 10 with 3:19 remaining after the ejections, went on a 14-4 run to force overtime. Lamb cut Washington's six-point lead in half on a corner three with 1:37 remaining. And after two offensive rebounds and two put-backs from Ibaka, Durant hit a 25-footer to tie the game with 13.6 seconds left in the fourth.
Durant and Jackson combined for eight of the Thunder's 10 points in overtime as Oklahoma City handed Washington their fourth loss.
What was a key statistic to understanding the game?
Free throw shooting. It's simple, if the Wizards hit their free throws, they win. Instead they missed 13 times from the stripe and watched an 11-point lead evaporate into a disappointing overtime loss. The Thunder shot 81.8-percent (18-22) from the line compared to Washington's 50-percent (13-26).
What does this game mean to the Thunder tonight and going forward?
The Thunder keep finding different ways to win. Whether it's a double-double from a rookie center or a 20-9, fourth quarter run against one of the NBA's better defensive teams, they have found ways to put W's in the win column.
Oklahoma City now faces a three-game road trip that includes the Los Angeles Clippers, Golden State Warriors and Milwaukee Bucks before returning to the Chesapeake Energy Arena for a six-game home stand to end November.
|Final - 11.10.2013||1||2||3||4||OT 1||Total|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||27||10||28||31||10||106|
Thunder Wonder: Kevin Durant (33 points, 13 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 game-tying three-pointer)
Thunder Down Under: Serge Ibaka (25 points, 12 rebounds, 2 blocks)
Thunder Blunder: Steven Adams (1 point, 2 rebounds, 2 fouls, 19 minutes)
Thunder Plunderer: Bradley Beal (34 points, 6 rebounds, 6-8 3PT)
Next game: at Los Angeles Clippers (Nov. 13th) @ 9:30 PM CDT on ESPN.