Johnson: Thunder strike Wizards

Johnson: Thunder strike Wizards
March 15, 2011, 1:25 am
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Monday, March 14, 2011 9:25 p.m.

By Dave Johnson
CSNwashington.comWashington -- Back in January when the Wizards pushed the Oklahoma City Thunder to the limit before losing a double-overtime thriller they only turned the ball over 8 times. There was no dj-vu all over again against the Thunder Tuesday at Verizon Center.By halftime the Wizards had committed 9 turnovers and it helped the Thunder pull away for a 116-89 victory. While the turnovers played a role in the Wizards unraveling, the Thunder simply had too many options. Kevin Durant led the Thunders with 32 points in just under 29 minutes played.The Wizards shortage of points could partly be linked to a shortage of players. For the second consecutive game Andray Blatche sat out with a strained right shoulder and Rashard Lewis remained sidelined with a sore right knee. Josh Howard, who has been battling a hamstring injury, did not play in the second half.Partly its who were playing and the number of bodies were playing with, said Wizards head coach Flip Saunders. Going in we knew it was going to be tough and at this point were just very out-manned physically. You try to look at the silver lining, good things. The Wizards rookies received extensive minutes. Trevor Booker, who set a career high with 12 rebounds in the previous meeting against the Thunder, surpassed it with 13 rebounds to go with his 14 points. JaVale McGee and John Wall joined Booker with 14 points each to lead the Wizards in scoring.Kevin Seraphin set a career high in points with 12 on 5 of 9 shooting from the field. Seraphin has displayed a nice mix of strength with soft hand to finish around the basket. Jordan Crawford again was in double figures with 12 points and continued to impress with his ability to create his own shots.What I like is I think the rookies have been more physical and competitive than the guys weve had back, Saunders noted. If anything your rookies would be guys that would be kind of taken aback, but that hasnt been the case. Thats the positive.The Wizards had a 49-43 rebounding edge, but their competitiveness on the boards could not slow the Thunders offense. Russell Westbrook scored 18 points and 12 of the Thunders 30 assists. Former VCU star Eric Maynor came off the bench to dish out 9 assists.Daequan Cook was the Thunders most efficient scorer. Cook scored 18 points on 6 three-pointers in 19 minutes. The Thunder were 12 of 21 beyond the arc, while the Wizards missed all 9 of their three-point attempts.It could be argued that given the Wizards current situation, it is necessary for Nick Young to produce consistent numbers for the team to have a chance. Young, who has also been struggling through a sore knee, was held to 11 points. In the January thriller n Oklahoma, Young scored 32 points.I know that people are hurting and its a rebuilding process, Wall said. But this is an opportunity for people to step up. We are not looking for excuses.