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Preview: Thunder face old coach vs. Wizards

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Scott Brooks may not have a great team, but he’s got the inside on Russ.

Westbrook/Batman with Brooks
I always knew Westbrook-Batman did it....
W. Bennett Berry

The Wizards don’t look very threatening, with a morose 6-10 record. Tonight, the Wizards must face the 11-8 Thunder on the road. Despite having gone 4-2 in their past 6 games, those wins were all against teams under .500. With an all-star level talent on their team in John Wall, the Wizards can certainly still win games. But the Wizard offense is inefficient, as they are 22nd best in the NBA when it comes to effective field goal percentage. In particular, Bradley Beal and Marcus Morris really bring that percentage down, because they’re given more offensive responsibility than either is capable of. Defensively, the Wizards don’t excel at anything but forcing turnovers, and there are better teams out there.

Thunder

OKC comes off a monster win in Madison Square Garden. Westbrook had his eighth triple double of the year. Kanter had one of those games where he scores tons of points and gobbles up boards. Kanter’s 27 points and 6 offensive rebounds came because the Knicks didn’t play anyone off the bench to body up Kanter. So Kanter just scored relentlessly, while Lauvergne had only 6 points. Perhaps this is Kanter’s value, since Lauvergne does not seem to be as good at devouring mismatches. I still think that OKC could have won without Kanter though, simply giving those possessions to Lauvergne. We’ll see if Kanter continues to produce moving forward.

Off the bench, Anthony Morrow continues to shine. A 5 of 7 shooting night plus an assist was a really valuable contribution. Please continue to give him minutes, the dude is on fire. Oladipo faded from the scoring scene, only putting in 8. But can we really blame Oladipo for a 4 assist, 0 turnover night? I don’t think so. Great to see Oladipo manage the ball so well.

Tonight

Luckily for OKC, the Wizards are second to last when it comes to three pointers attempted and made in the NBA. So Washington can’t exploit OKC by pulling Adams, Sabonis, Kanter, and Lauvergne away from the rim. As long as OKC packs the paint and plays smash mouth basketball, it would take a heck of a performance for the Thunder to lose tonight. The path to victory for the Wizards lies in winning the battle of the boards and taking better shots. Oh, and getting into Russ mentally. Maybe Scott Brooks has some tricks up his sleeve....

Prediction: Oklahoma City Thunder 115, Washington Wizards 102.

What do you think of tonight’s game? Drop a comment and let us know!

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Injuries: Ian Mahinmi (Questionable), Danuel House (Out), Cameron Payne (Out)

Time: 7:00 PM CST

Place: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

TV: FSOK, CSMA