The Washington Wizards improved to an even 23-all Saturday as they thrashed the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder 96-81. The former Seattle-based franchise had no chance despite a late surge by franchise player Kevin Durant, as the D.C. native scored a game-high 26 points. John Wall led the Wizards in victory with some late scoring himself as he finished with an impressive 17 points, 15 assists, and a season-high tying 6 steals.
"We felt like we gave away the game earlier this year in OKC and we got to give credit to them for protecting their home court," said Wall after the game. "We just wanted to come out here and play basketball the right way. We knew they were playing great and were on a winning streak. Basically, coach said, ‘You can’t let Kevin and those guys all get in double figures.’ Only two of them got in double figures, it was Serge Ibaka and Reggie Jackson. We made them take a lot of shots to get to that and that’s the reason we won the game."
Despite some aggressive play by Ibaka, the Wizards came out with some of their best defense of the year. They held the Thunder to 39.7% shooting, 16.7% from deep (4-for-24). Durant went 0-for-6 from downtown. Washington is going to need a similar effort tonight against the 34-13 Portland Trail Blazers (7:00 p.m. ET) if they hope to finally get over the .500 hump.
"You can get embarrassed in front of your home crowd and it's just as embarrassing on the road," said Wall, regarding blowouts and upsets. "We lock in and we play team defense and we trust each other and we are moving the ball offensively. It's great to come home with the focus that we had and get a big win."
On Sunday, the Seattle Seahawks were the ones delivering the blowout, as they demolished the Denver Broncos 43-8. The Super Bowl Championship was the first major win by a Seattle pro team since the Seattle Supersonics defeated the Washington Bullets in the 1979 NBA Finals. Next up, Washington?