Thunder at Wizards
The best thing the Washington Wizards can say about the schedule over the last two nights is that at least one of the games is at home. After losing at the defending champion Miami Heat on Sunday, the NBA-worst Wizards will host the other half of last spring’s Finals when the Oklahoma City Thunder come to town. The Thunder won at Toronto on Sunday and own the highest winning percentage in the league at .788.
Oklahoma City has taken two straight and five of its last six behind one of the top offenses in the league. Kevin Durant has scored at least 22 points in each of the last nine games and Russell Westbrook is shooting 51.6 percent over the last five. Washington does not have anyone nearly as dynamic on offense with John Wall (knee) still sidelined. The lowest-scoring team in the NBA, the Wizards managed only 71 points in the loss to the Heat.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, Fox Sports Oklahoma, Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic (Washington)
ABOUT THE THUNDER (26-7): Oklahoma City just keeps moving along and rolling over teams. Westbrook and Durant combined for 45 points in the 104-92 win over the Raptors on Sunday and remain one of the better duos in the league. But the thing that has made the Thunder so dangerous of late has been their dedication on the defensive end. Sunday marked the fifth time in the last six games that they had held an opponent to 96 points or less. After outscoring the competition during a brief stretch last month, Oklahoma City has picked up the intensity on the other end with Westbrook ranking among the leaders in steals while Thabo Sefolosha, Kendrick Perkins, Serge Ibaka and even Durant have played at a high level defensively.
ABOUT THE WIZARDS (4-28): Washington has dropped five straight on its current skid. The Wizards shot 35.8 percent at Miami on Sunday and failed to score over the final 7:06, turning a seven-point game into a 99-71 rout. The bench outscored the starters 42-29 in the loss, and the inconsistency of the starting lineup has been a problem for Washington all season. Rookie Bradley Beal has shown flashes of potential, but until Wall gets back the rest of the starters are struggling without a distributor or a go-to scorer when the offense breaks down. Jordan Crawford has been the most reliable scorer off the bench along with forward Kevin Seraphin.
1. The Wizards won the lone meeting last season, 105-102 in Washington on Jan. 18. Westbrook and Durant combined for 69 points but the Wizards dominated the glass and forced 21 turnovers.
2. Durant, who is from Washington D.C., has averaged 31.4 points in eight career games against his hometown team.
3. Washington F Trevor Ariza (calf) has missed the last month and is questionable for Monday.