THE FACTS: It wasn't particularly pretty but the Oklahoma City Thunder used a suffocating defensive effort to beat the Washington Wizards for the first time in two seasons, 103-80. The Thunder finished with three players in double figures. Point guard Russell Westbrook led the way with 21 points on 5-for-8 shooting. Westbrook was also 10-for-11 at the free throw line. Kevin Durant was right behind with 20 points and 10-for-10 at the stripe. Durant struggled from the floor though going 4-for-10. Sixth man Kevin Martin had a big night with 18 points on 6-for-9 shooting including 3-for-4 on 3-pointers.
The Thunder hadn't beaten Washington since 2011. The teams played only once last season (a Wizards win) and Washington won the first game between the two this season.
Washington was playing short-handed again and couldn't get anything going on offense. John Wall, coming off a career-high 47 points on Monday night, managed just 18 against OKC. Most of those points came at the free throw line where Wall was 12-for-15. The Thunder defense held Wall to just 3-for-18 from the floor. Guard Garrett Temple finished with 13 points and Cartier Martin and Kevin Seraphin came off the bench to score a dozen each.
The Wizards played with just half a team. Seven players were either out sick or injured. Leandro Barbosa has been out since February with a knee injury. Bradley Beal (ankle) and A.J. Price (groin) couldn't go and even though there were hopes that Nene (knee), Martell Webster (abdominal strain), and Trevor Ariza (flu) might have been able to play they were put back on the shelf just before game time along with Jason Collins who came down with the flu this afternoon.
The Thunder dominated on defense holding Washington to just 32.1 percent shooting for the game and allowing the Wizards to score only 35 points in the entire second half.
QUOTABLE: "The defense was the game tonight. We really contested their shots. We wanted to make sure Wall didn't get any easy shots, we had multiple guys working on him tonight. With us it's all about defending, rebounding and getting out on the break."
-- Thunder coach Scott Brooks
THE STAT: The Wizards actually got the best of the Thunder in some key areas, outrebounding them 43-41, 16 of those rebounds came off the offensive glass and Washington dominated in second-chance points.outscoring the Thunder by a whopping 21-2 margin. But the Thunder hit two more field goals than Washington while taking 21 fewer shots. OKC also scored 16 more points at the free throw line, going 37-for-41 (90.2 percent) while the Wizards were just 21-for-29 (72.4 percent).
TURNING POINT: The Thunder kept the Wizards at arm's length all night and used a big third quarter to push the lead out to 17 points. Brooks allowed his second unit to start the fourth quarter before bringing his starters back in halfway through the fourth to finish things off.
QUOTABLE II: "We just couldn't get anybody hot. We hovered in the low 30s shooting all night. I was as proud of these guys tonight as I was in our last game against Memphis. It's not about wins and losses it's about how we play and we went out tonight with eight guys able to play and we battled."
-- Wizards coach Randy Wittman
HOT: The Thunder got off to a blistering start, shooting 62.5 percent (10-for-16) in the first quarter. ... Westbrook was 4-for-6 (15 points) in the first half. ... OKC was 5-for-7 (71.4 percent) on 3-pointers in the second half.
NOT: The Wizards couldn't shoot straight to begin the game, going just 6-for-21 (28.6 percent) in the first quarter. ... That percentage had improved only slightly (30.4) by halftime. ... Wall was just 1- for-11 (10 points) in the first half. He did most of his damage at the free throw line where he was 8-for-11 in the first 24 minutes. ... Ibaka was 0-for-5 (three points) in the half. ... The Wizards were 1-for-9 (11.1 percent) on 3-pointers in the second half.
INSIDE THE ARENA: The 103rd consecutive sell-out inside Chesapeake Energy Arena. It was also Military Appreciation Night and the Thunder distributed 500 tickets to active duty personnel and their families. The team also gave special recognition to six Oklahoma National Guardsmen. Three of the soldiers lost their lives in Afghanistan and the three others were severely wounded and lost limbs.
GOOD MOVE: Wall managed to get OKC's top two point guards in foul trouble in the first quarter. Westbrook picked up his second foul trying to guard Wall before three minutes had come off the clock. Backup point guard Reggie Jackson spelled Westbrook and picked up his second foul six minutes later.
GOOD MOVE TOO: The Thunder made it Job One to control Wall and in the first half they forced him to take some bad shots and he finished just 1-for-11. However, he handed out nine assists and went to the line 11 times. Wall finished at just 3-for-18.
NOTABLE: For the first time this season Oklahoma City has held four straight opponents to 90 or fewer points.
UP NEXT: For the Wizards, Friday @ Orlando, Sunday vs. Toronto, Tuesday vs. Chicago. For the Thunder, Friday @ Minnesota, Saturday @ Milwaukee, Thursday vs. San Antonio.