With the All-Star break nearing at the end of the week, the Thunder will be in action on Monday night when it takes on the Wizards inside of the Verizon Center.
Here are a few things to know about the matchup:
An emotional hangover?
Monday’s game against the Wizards isn’t just another game, it’s the game following Kevin Durant’s return to Oklahoma City. Despite the Thunder falling to the Warriors, 130-114, every OKC player appeared to give everything they had in the loss.
Whether it was Domantas Sabonis diving on the ground for loose balls in the first quarter, or Andre Roberson squaring up with Durant in the third, it was evident those guys wanted to spoil KD’s return to the 405.
Plain and simple, it’s hard to bounce back from a game like that. It’ll be interesting to see the energy level the Thunder players will have in the Nation’s capital.
Last time these two played…
The Thunder needed overtime to beat the Wizards, 126-115 in Scott Brooks’ first game back in OKC on Dec. 1. It wasn’t near as emotional as Durant’s return, and Brooks did get a much warmer greeting from Thunder fans.
Westbrook scored 35 and sprinkled in a triple-double while coming up clutch for the Thunder down the stretch of the game. Bradley Beal led the Wiz with 31 points as John Wall paced Washington with 15 points and 15 assists.
The Wizards were coming off a rough stretch in the last matchup with OKC, but Washington used the loss as a springboard for the month of December and have righted the ship for the second half of the season.
Wiz playing well
Not only have the Wizards turned it around over the last couple of months, but they’re now one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference and undoubtedly the hottest team in the league. Washington has won nine of their last 10 games, with their only loss coming in overtime against the Cavs, a game the Wizards would’ve won if it weren’t for a miracle bank shot at the end of regulation from LeBron James.
With Washington playing excellent basketball as of late, the Thunder will need to be dialed in to avoid back-to-back losses.
You can follow Brett on Twitter: @BrettCope