7:00 PM ET, January 18, 2012
Verizon Center, Washington, DC
WASHINGTON -- Wizards coach Flip Saunders decided to put Andray Blatche back in the starting lineup, and the home crowd responded by booing the struggling forward. When Washington got off to a slow start, they booed more heartily.
However, they were cheering by the end of the night as the Wizards got just their second win of the season, beating Oklahoma City 105-102 Wednesday night and ending the Thunder's seven-game winning streak.
Blatche missed three games with a sprained right shoulder and came off the bench in the team's last game. He had 12 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and a lot of fun listening to the crowd.
"That was terrible," he said with a smile. "Oh man. We won. So if they want to do that and we win, I don't care."
Russell Westbrook scored 36 points and Kevin Durant had 33 for Oklahoma City, which lost for only the third time in 15 games. During one stretch bridging the second and third quarters, the duo accounted for 21 of the Thunder's 23 points. Both slowed down after resting at the start of the fourth, missing 11 of 17 from the field.
Durant savors playing in his native Washington. He entered the game averaging 31.1 points against the Wizards -- his best against any team.
"It's not the end of the world. We lost to a hungrier team than us," Durant said. "It hurts, because we want to win every game, especially me, I want to win at home, but you've got to look past it."
Westbrook's total was a season high, but the Thunder got only eight points from their other three starters.
"It's tough, especially when we weren't mentally focused to start the game. They stuck around and stuck around and they kind of got a win," Westbrook said.
Wall also had eight assists, seven rebounds and made 13 of 14 from the line. He was sanguine about his team and their league-worst record.
"We know we're better than our record," Wall said. "You're still 2-12. You still got a lot to do."
Washington proved to be pesky while breaking a four-game losing streak. After trailing by nine with 2:31 to play in the third quarter, the Wizards used strong 3-point shooting to take an 88-85 lead with 6:43 remaining. Washington started 0 for 6 on 3s before making 7 of 10 -- including four by Young -- late in the third and early in the fourth.
The Thunder took an 84-81 lead with 8:09 to play, but then hit just one field goal in the next seven minutes.
Washington led 94-90 with 50.9 seconds left, but its lead could have been even greater as JaVale McGee missed four free throws in just over a minute and Young, who led the NBA in free throw percentage before the game, missed three -- two in the final minute.
With the Wizards ahead 96-92, Durant was called for an offensive foul with 38.8 seconds remaining. He also missed a 3 with 1.9 seconds left that would have tied the score.
"I still got a wide-open look, I just happened to not make it," Durant said.
The Thunder took a 51-46 halftime lead when Durant stole the ball from Crawford, dished to Westbrook, who returned it with a lovely behind-the-back pass to Durant, who dunked it with a flourish. Moments later, he hit a fadeaway jumper and was fouled and converted the free throw.
As the Wizards took a brief lead, Westbrook kept Oklahoma City in the game with 10 second-quarter points.
Washington outrebounded Oklahoma City 52-43. "We weren't going to be intimidated. We did get physical," coach Flip Saunders said. ... Thunder F Serge Ibaka and C Kendrick Perkins have each blocked at least one shot in every game -- the only pair of teammates to do so. ... Ibaka has blocked one in the last 28 games -- an NBA high. ... Wizards C Ronny Turiaf, who hasn't played since breaking his left hand on Jan. 1, was in New York to have sutures removed from the hand.
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 18: John Wall #2 of the Washington Wizards shoots against Nick Collison #4 of the...(Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)
Team Stat Comparison
|FGM-FGA||37-77 (.481)||33-86 (.384)|
|3PM-3PA||4-19 (.211)||8-21 (.381)|
|FTM-FTA||24-30 (.800)||31-43 (.721)|
|Fast Break Points||20||23|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||31 (2/0)||23 (0/0)|
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