By: Jeremy Hyman
The Wizards return to the floor tonight as they host the Oklahoma City Thunder at Verizon Center (7:00 pm | TV: CSN | Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM). This will be the first meeting of the season between these two teams.
The schedule makers did the Wizards no favors when they lined up the two representatives from last season's NBA Finals for a back-to-back set. The Wizards lost to the Heat last night in Miami and tonight they take on the Thunder.
The Thunder also played yesterday, as they took down the Toronto Raptors, 104-92, yesterday afternoon in Toronto. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combined for 45 points and 14 assists in the win.
The two of them are no secrets in the league as they are two of the brightest young stars in the game today. While it is difficult to shut them down, the Wizards will need to not let them get out in transition and score easy buckets. The key will be to force tough shots and not let the role players make key contributions.
Just before the regular season started, the Thunder made headlines when they traded Olympian James Harden to Houston in exchange for Kevin Martin. The move shook up their roster, but now Martin is a top candidate for 6th man of the year, averaging 15.4 points per game off the bench. A career 38% 3-point shooter, he is up to 45% from behind the arc in 2012-13.
The Wizards will want to get off to a good start and quickly forget about the last seven minutes of last night's game in which they were held scoreless. Kevin Seraphin led the Wizards with 14 points last night and could be asked to play a big role again tonight with this being the second game of a back-to-back and Nene on a minutes limit.
The action kicks off at 7pm.
Right after given the task of defending LeBron James last night, Martell Webster gets the assignment of Kevin Durant tonight. While he won't be alone in defending Durant, he will likely start the game marking him and will need to try and make the game as uncomfortable as possible for one of the NBA's leading scorers.
Webster gives up some size to Durant, but he is one of the more athletic defenders the Wizards possess and should be able to stay with Durant on the perimeter. Last night, the Wizards used Jan Vesely at times to take on James and tonight they could go to Ves off the bench to match-up with a similar framed player in Durant.
Webster has scored in double figures in four of the past five games and is one of the more consistent players on the Wizards roster.
In the below clip, Martell Webster speaks to the media after last night's game in Miami.
In this clip, Webster finished with authority.