Thunder 103, Wizards 80: Instant analysis

Thunder 103, Wizards 80: Instant analysis
March 27, 2013, 10:30 pm
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The Wizards (26-45) didn't have enough firepower to contend with the Oklahoma City Thunder, falling at Chesapeake Energy Arena on Wednesday night.

Player of the game: PG John Wall. There wasn't much to choose from, but even though he shot just 3-for-18, he was 12 of 15 from the foul line to finish with a team-high 18 points and game-high 12 assists. 

The rundown: The Thunder’s size and length gave the undermanned Wizards problems, particularly Wall. He couldn't finish in the lane because of PF Serge Ibaka, the NBA’s No. 2 shot-blocker. C Kendrick Perkins kept Wizards C Emeka Okafor off of his spot, pushing him beyond his shooting range as he had trouble finding his mark. He shot 2-for-9.

Still, the Wizards hung tough in the first half. Wall’s aggression saddled Thunder PG Russell Westbrook with two quick fouls that sent him to the bench less than three minutes into the first quarter.  

SF Cartier Martin came off the bench to spark the Wizards, making 2 of 3 three-pointers to prevent an early blowout as they trailed 18-17. Oklahoma City had a spurt to go up 29-23 going into the second quarter because of SG Kevin Martin’s seven points on 3-for-3 shooting. The Wizards only shot 6-for-21 in the first and were outscored in the paint 16-6. Wall was 1 of 11 shooting for the half but had nine assists. Westbrook came on strong and had 15 points, making all seven of his free-throw attempts.

Washington’s shooting didn't improve in the second half. They went 8-for-22 in the third quarter. The Thunder didn't need a big performance from SF Kevin Durant, a Washington D.C. native, who finished with 20 points on 10 attempts. Westbrook had 21 on eight shots. The Wizards shot 27 of 84 for the game for only 32%.

Turning point: Oklahoma City (53-19) pulled away in the third quarter, outscoring Washington by nine to expand a 53-45 halftime lead to 83-66 going into the fourth.

M.A.S.H. unit: PF Nene (right knee), SF Martell Webster (abdominal strain),  SG Bradley Beal (left ankle), SF Trevor Ariza (flu) and PG A.J. Price (groin) weren't available again for the Wizards, who lacked the size and scoring to keep pace. C Jason Collins (flu) was a new addition. He apparently caught his sickness from Ariza, who likely caught it from Okafor when he missed a game last week.

Second chances: The Wizards were able to manufacture points because of 16 offensive rebounds, notably tap-outs of missed shots by Okafor. They finished with with a 43-41 overall rebounding edge. That translated into a 21-2 edge in second-chance points. 

Who’s next: Friday at Orlando Magic, 7 p.m. ET on CSN. The Magic (18-54) lost to the Charlotte Bobcats 114-108 on Wednesday, allowing the league's worst team to shoot 52% from the field.