April 22, 2018

Washington Wizards Game 71 Wrap: Thunder shut down Wizards early as Washington falls 103-80

As one could probably guess by simply reading the final score, John Wall did not post 47 points in the Washington Wizards’ (26-45) 103-80 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder (53-19) Wednesday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

The Wizards were still without several of their top players – and Wall put forth the effort – but the injury-ridden and seemingly exhausted Wizards stood little chance against Kevin Durant and the Thunder. Along with Russell Westbrook, Durant led the Thunder’s efforts – Westbrook recorded 21 points and four rebounds on the evening and Durant another 20 and six. On Washington’s side, however, Wall led with just 18 points and 12 assists.

The Wizards were once again without Bradley Beal (left ankle sprain), Nene (sore right knee), Martell Webster (abdominal strain) and A.J. Price (sore right groin) as well as Trevor Ariza who was still nursing flu symptoms as of game time.

Nevertheless, the Wizards lost their first-quarter lead quickly – just four minutes in, in fact. Washington kept it close, but Durant came to life early with a dunk fed by Reggie Jackson that put Oklahoma City on top 18-14 with three minutes remaining. By the end of the quarter, Durant and Jackson each had six points to contribute to the Thunder’s 29-23 lead.

Midway through the second quarter, Durant’s 22-footer put the Thunder up by 10 points. Each time the Wizards chipped away, it seemed Durant had an immediate response – most often in the form of a dunk or three-pointer. Yet, Washington pulled back within eight at the half, down 53-45.

Unlike so many times this year, there was no second-half surge for the Wizards. Thabo Sefolosha put the Thunder up by double-digits on a long three just 16 seconds into the half. From there, the Wizards fought just to get looks – Serge Ibaka put up a tough block on Emeka Okafor’s early jumper attempt and Durant did the same against John just seconds later.

Kevin Martin’s three-pointer with 1:50 left in the third quarter put the Thunder up 78-64 and, by the buzzer, Oklahoma City began zeroing in on the 20-point margin with an 83-66 lead.

They got there – early in the fourth quarter, in fact – on a Nick Collison layup and Reggie Jackson free throw to put the Thunder on top 88-68.

After a Durant three-pointer and another basket by Collison with 6:45 remaining, the Thunder made only one additional basket amidst eight free throw points, yet it still provided them with enough juice to close out the game with a 103-80 win over Washington.

About Alyssa Wolice

Alyssa Wolice is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Nationals and Wizards. As a former production assistant, she covered the Nationals, Redskins, Capitals, Wizards, D.C. United and local collegiate teams. You can follow Alyssa on Twitter @awolice.

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