Washington Wizards (14-46, 4-24 road) vs. Thunder (15-45, 11-20 home)
TV: FS Oklahoma (Cox 37, HD 722)
Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1 FM, 640 AM)
Time: 7:00 CST
Offensive Rating: Thunder: 103.8 (28th), Washington: 104.8 (25th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder: 109.9 (21st), Washington: 113.1 (29th)
Pace: Thunder: 93.9 (8th), Washington: 90.2 (21st)
A little ironic that the Thunder could pull of their first three-game winning streak without their star. But before we get rolling with Kevin Durant and The Ewing Theory, let’s remember the opponents for two of them and remember the effort for the other. And realize this could be for four straight if he hadn’t gotten hurt against Dallas last Friday.
But tonight’s game is far from in the bag. Strange how even without Durant and possibly no Jeff Green (still listed as questionable), you can go in feeling really confident. But just like Monday, they’re going to go ahead and play the game.
The team played with a chip on its shoulder Monday night. Nobody thought they had a chance. But now, they’re the favorite. But they can’t play like it. They won Monday because they took nothing for granted – every possession was a war. That’s got to be the mindset tonight, tomorrow night, next week and next year.
Sure the Wizards aren’t really anything special, but they still have some nice players and they still have a win over OKC already – and that was without Caron Butler who is back (but is listed as questionable with a hamstring injury). But they are terrible on the road (4-24), have lost four of five and are one of the worst defensive teams in the league.
Again, Russell Westbrook needs to create and distribute and make everyone on the floor better. I’m actually really excited to watch the team (hopefully) execute well and do the little things necessary to win. These games without Durant are going to really help the team in the long run and especially help Westbrook. He did wonderful against Dallas, but tonight’s a new game and it’s got to happen again. Set up Nenad Krstic for sweet jumpers. Set up Kyle Weaver for dribble-drives and open threes. Get guys like Thabo, Nick Collison and Malik Rose in the mix of the offense and playing with confidence. And then do a little scoring yourself.
Nothing is guaranteed in this league and in order to get that elusive three-game stretch, the Thunder’s going to have to lay it out there. Scott Brooks hopefully will pound that home and behind the energy of the home crowd can get it done. I know I’d sure love to see three straight, no matter how we get it.
Tip at 7:00 CST and OU plays at 8:00. Set the DVR, flip back and forth, whatever. Go both teams.