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Thunder vs Wizards final score: OKC cruises to 114-98 win over Washington

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Box. Checked.

W. Bennett Berry

Box Score| Bullets Forever

The Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Washington Wizards, 114-98. As everyone knows, this week is unofficially known as 'Warriors Week,' which means that this was a clear trap game, especially against a Wizards team that has been fighting to get over the mediocrity hump for some time now. The Thunder pulled out to an early 1st quarter lead, scoring 36 points in the opening period and it looked as if OKC was going to roll. However, while they had numerous advantages, shot 51.8% from the floor and won the rebounding battle (as we predicted), lack of sharpness and Washington tenacity kept the game closer than many expected. In the end however OKC's advantages were too great.

The Thunder were led by Russell Westbrook, who once again controlled the game by earning another triple-double on the season with a 17-13-11. Kevin Durant chipped in with 27 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 assists, but also had 7 turnovers. The Wizards were led by a returning Bradley Beal, who came off the bench to record 18 points on 7-15 shooting.

What is your initial reaction to tonight's result?

This feels like the kind of win where we want to nit-pick it and harp on the things that the Thunder didn't do well, so let's set that aside and focus first on what they did right.

  • Russell Westbrook once again found the right balance between passing (11 assists) and scoring (13 shots), so he never got into a track meet with John Wall.
  • The offense was moving the ball at a brisk pace, seldom sticking for too long by any one player.
  • The advantage in rebounding was immeasurable. No, wait, it was quite measurable. They won the battle 53-27, including 13-2 on the offensive glass.
  • Serge Ibaka the Good came to play. You know him. He's the guy active on the glass, chases loose balls, and knocks down open jumpers, to the tune of a 19-10 (and 3 assists!).
  • Some people might look at Steven Adams' 3 rebounds in 31 minutes and wonder why. But in reality, Adams did a great job out-muscling Marcin Gortat and Nene Hilario, which allowed Durant, Ibaka, and Westbrook to snag everything that came off the rim.
  • Dion Waiters: +17! It was one of those games where I wish just 2-3 more of his shots had dropped, because I thought he played strong most of the night, recording 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals, while chasing Garrett Temple and Beal all over the place.
  • Cameron Payne - glad to have you back, Maestro.

What was, overall, the main reason why the Thunder won?

The Thunder did a lot of things right. Here is something that went wrong, but in a way it was something that is right, at least hopefully in the future.

For much of the game, OKC was playing at a good offensive pace - quick, but not rushing. It was clear that Washington wasn't going to be able to stop OKC's offense, and 114 points on 51.8% shooting is very respectable. However, the team was still just a hair off on offense. So many times they seemed to have the right situation set up perfectly, but the pass would be a fraction too late, or the receiver would bobble the pass, and it was those little things that kept the lead hovering around 12-15 points instead of 18-25 points. The concepts though, they were working. The Thunder were playing with the right ideas in mind; they just need a little more time to iron them out. Once they combine the right ideas with better execution, those easy buckets will come like a flood.

Trap game: avoided. On to Orlando.

***

Sherman's Awards

Thunder Wonder: Russell Westbrook, triple-double machine

Thunder Down Under: Enes Kanter, WITH THE STEP-BACK

Thunder Blunder: Kevin Durant with his 7 sloppy turnovers

Thunder Plunderer: Bradley Beal with 18 points in 26 minutes

***

Next game: vs Orlando Magic on Wednesday, Feb. 3rd at 7PM CDT