NORMAN — Playing shorthanded against one of the best teams in the NBA is not what Washington wanted to do. But after beating Oklahoma City earlier in the season under the same circumstances, it was hoping for a repeat performance.
Unfortunately for the Wizards, the Thunder had a different outcome in mind. They rolled over Washington 103-80 Wednesday at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.
The win was the third in a row for the Thunder and the sixth in their last eight games as they continue to battle San Antonio for the top spot in the West Conference. Oklahoma City stayed a game and a half behind the Spurs.
“Right now, I know we love to win basketball games,” Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant said. “But it’s about bettering our habits. There’s 10 games left and we want to continue playing solid defense, moving the ball on offense and going out there wreaking havoc.”
The injury-ravaged Wizards (26-45) suffered only their third defeat in the past nine outings. After a competitive first half, they fell apart on both ends of the court in the second half. Oklahoma City held the Wizards to 35 second-half points.
“I was as proud of these guys tonight as I was the last game against Memphis,” Washington coach Randy Wittman said. “It’s not about wins and losses. It’s about how you play. We were out tonight with eight guys and a lot of our key guys down. It was battle. They fought their hearts out.”
John Wall paced Washington with 17 points and 12 assists. However, he shot a paltry 3 for 18 from the field. Garrett Temple added 13 points, while Cartier Martin chipped in with 12 points off the bench.
Washington shot 32 percent from the field and connected on only five 3-pointers.
“When you don’t have to take the ball out of the net, we get a chance to use our athleticism and get out in transition,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “We are really good, we’re fast. Then we put pressure on defense.”