Facing off against his former team, Russell Westbrook led the Washington Wizards to a 119-107 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder in the nation’s capitol.
Playing their second back-to-back in a week, OKC was again without second year guard Luguentz Dort, who was inactive on the back end of the consecutive games for the second straight time.
Sans Dort, the Thunder were able to mitigate the Wizards threat from beyond the arc, forcing Washington to beat them inside.
Ultimately, OKC still came up on the short end of the stick for the 11th straight outing, and they fell to 1-13 since Al Horford was downgraded to inactive for the rest of the season.
Here are three quick takeaways from the loss:
Thunder chasing the wrong kind of history
In their inaugural season in Oklahoma City, the Thunder lost 12 straight games, a mark which hasn’t since been surpassed in franchise history.
Wednesday night when the Thunder wrap up their road jaunt in against the Indiana Pacers, they will have a chance to equal the mark.
A combination of injury management and trades took the teeth out of the Thunder in the immediate aftermath of the NBA Trade Deadline. Without Horford or budding superstar Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City simply doesn’t have enough offense to be a threat on most nights. Add in the fact that Darius Bazley and Dort have missed significant time over that span, and it’s easy to see why the Thunder are on the verge of a historic losing skid.
The extra day rest should coincide with Dort’s return to the lineup as Mark Daigneault his offensive spark paired with his defense can see the Thunder leave Indianapolis victorious on Wednesday evening.
OKC undone by poor opening quarter
From the second quarter on, Oklahoma City outscored the Wizards 82-81. Unfortunately for the young Thunder, Washington dominated the first quarter 38-25. Both Moses Brown and Tony Bradley got into early foul trouble as well, compounding OKC’s defensive woes under the basket and sending the Wizards to the free throw line over and over.
Outplaying their opponents over the final three quarters, the Thunder yet again could’t overcome a catastrophic quarter, and had to expend all of their energy clawing their way back into the game.
Aggressive Bazley is here to stay
Bazley has averaged 16.2 points per game since returning from his fractured scapula, and he stayed on the attack Monday night against the Wizards.
The former New Balance intern posted a career high 26 points on 7-of-19 shooting, also converting 11-of-13 attempts from the free throw line. His confidence attacking the rim continues to grow as exhibited in the third quarter when he finished a drive with another monster dunk in traffic.
Though it wasn’t the most efficient night shooting from the floor, Bazley knew there were extra shots to be had without Dort and Gilgeous-Alexander, and he rarely forced up shots by creating clean looks for himself and his teammates.
Bazley also added seven rebounds and three assists, polishing off one of the better all-around performances of his career.