The Oklahoma City Thunder were playing a rare third game in four nights whereas the Wizards hadn’t played since Tuesday, but you couldn’t tell as Oklahoma City ran Washington off its own home floor, 134-111 on Friday night.
Dwight Howard, making his Wizards debut provided a jolt of energy for this Washington team to start the game and the crowd fed off of it. After dunking home the first basket of the night, Howard was feeling himself. 18-foot bank shots? Yup. Taking guys off the dribble? You bet, it was all on display for Howard as he knocked down his first 6 shots as a Wizard for 13 first quarter points. But even with Howard’s excellent effort, the Wizards found themselves down 35-30 after a near-perfect first quarter.
Things fell apart for Washington in the second quarter. With all five reserves on the floor to start the quarter, Oklahoma City started the period on a 9-2 run which would open the floodgates. The Thunder came into the game as the worst three-point shooting team in the NBA but would hit 4 of their 8 attempts and went 15-for-22 on field goal attempts to take a 79-50 lead by halftime as the boos rained down in Capital One Arena.
I don’t have to tell you how the second half went, you’ve seen this movie before. Washington showed glimpses of life and was able to cut the deficit to 19, forcing a precautionary and unnecessary timeout from Billy Donavan. After that timeout, the Thunder lead quickly shot back up over 25 and they barely had to break a sweat for the rest of the game.
The Wizards are now 1-7 on the season, with three of their seven losses by over 20 points.
Washington wastes a nearly perfect first quarter
Slow starts have plagued Washington early on in the season. That wasn’t the case tonight as the basket was as wide as the ocean to start this one. A Dwight Howard dunk followed by threes from Wall and Beal got things going for Washington as the Wizards started the night 6-6 from the field to take an early 15-5 lead just four minutes into the game.
We got our first glimpse of Dwight Howard and he did not disappoint early on. After a dunk to get the game started, Howard knocked down an 18-foot bank shot and was feeling super confident as he took Steven Adams off the dribble on two occasions. Howard scored 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting in the opening period, leading the Wizards in scoring out of the gate.
For as good as Howard and the Wizards were on the offensive end, they were just as poor on the defensive end. Oklahoma City came into this game as the worst three-point shooting team in the league but they went 5-of-7 on three-point attempts in the opening quarter. Howard was not able to fix Washington’s interior woes either as the Thunder had 16 points in the painted area in the opening quarter.
Washington played nearly a perfect first quarter (on offense) but still found themselves trailing 35-30 after one. I know I’m beating a dead horse here, but nothing will change with this team until they decide to play defense. How’s that for #analysis?
Defense? What’s that?
You’re not going to beat anyone in this league giving up 79 points by halftime and 108 through three quarters.
Too many turnovers
The holidays are nearly seven weeks away but Washington was in the giving spirit tonight turning the ball over 18 times this evening. John Wall and Bradley Beal were the main culprits as the duo combined for 12. Oklahoma City turned the 18 mistakes into 26 points on the other end.
Ted has to be feeling the heat
For the first time in probably 6-7 years, boos could be heard throughout most of the evening. Some fans were so fed up that they left the game at halftime and owner Ted Leonsis was sitting courtside watching the latest debacle unfold right in front of him. The team still makes JV mistakes, brings no energy on defense, and the fans are starting to get restless. If getting blown out by 23 on your home floor (and the game wasn’t even that close) isn’t rock bottom for Leonsis and the Wizards, I’m afraid to see what is.
Troy Brown got some playing time