OKC Thunder (43-23, 19-14 road) at Washington Wizards (16-48, 15-19 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 110.7 (6th), Wizards– 101.9 (28th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 107.8 (16th), Wizards – 109.8 (22nd)
Pace: Thunder – 92.8 (12th), Wizards – 93.8 (9th)
View from the enemy: Truth About It
COUPLE NOTES: Kendrick Perkins will start tonight. Andray Blatche won’t play the Wizards just announced and Rashard Lewis is listed as “questionable” right now, but likely won’t play. So basically, this isn’t much of a “primer” at all.
Another “Can you stay focused?” game for the Thunder. Except keep this in mind: The Wizards are near as terrible as the Cavs. Especially as home.
The Wizards are a respectable 15-19 on their home floor and remember, they took the Thunder to overtime in Oklahoma City in the first meeting. So it’s not like OKC is going to be able to sleepwalk to a win. The Thunder are on the second of a back-to-back, but if they play with the same intensity and focus they did yesterday, things shouldn’t be a problem tonight. They lapse, and we’ll be looking at a close one.
Washington coming in: The Wizards are 1-9 in their last 10 and last played Saturday against the Clippers.
John Wall versus Russell Westbrook will be fun. It was fun in the first meeting and it’ll be fun again. What hurt the Thunder though wasn’t Wall, but Nick Young who pretty much torched Thabo Sefolosha. Thabo has been playing better defensively lately, but I like James Harden getting most the minutes at 2 tonight, because it means Young has to play the other end too.
Rashard Lewis is playing small forward, so Kevin Durant should have a good opportunity to get free. Josh Howard could play and he would definitely add some defense if he’s able to go.
Defending Andray Blatche is key for Serge Ibaka, but energy guys like Trevor Booker and JaVale McGee can add a lot for the Wizards inside. Nick Collison is questionable for this one because of a mild ankle sprain, so the Thunder might be relying more on Nazr Mohammed and Cole Aldrich.
There’s a chance Kendrick Perkins plays, but either way, OKC needs to keep things rolling as the schedule turns over to some better teams in the next couple weeks. Beating the Wizards is a must.
Tip at 6:00 CT. Go Ooooooooooooooooo-kc.