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Washington Wizards point guard John Wall.
Washington Wizards point guard John Wall.[/caption] Given the Thunder’s recent success, you wouldn’t think the defending Western Conference champions would struggle against a franchise that hasn’t won a conference title since 1979. The last time the OKC beat the Washington Wizards was March 14, 2011, and the last time the Thunder faced the Wiz at Chesapeake Energy Arena, it took OKC double-overtime to post a 124-117 victory. The Thunder is 5-3 all-time against the Wizards and rides a two-game losing streak against Washington into today’s 7 p.m. contest at The Peake. The teams met only once in the lockout-shortened season last year with the then 1-12 Wizards winning 105-102 in D.C. on Jan. 18, 2012. On Jan. 7, OKC not only lost 101-99 to a Washington team that was 4-28 overall at the time, but the Wiz also were without point guard John Wall, center Nene’, forward Trevor Booker, guard Jordan Crawford and forward Cartier Martin due to injuries. Whenever Thunder coach Scott Brooks and his players are asked about revenge, they never take the bait. But after Wednesday’s shoot-around, Brooks and three-time scoring champ Kevin Durant nibbled a little. Durant, who grew up in the Washington D.C. area, nodded when asked if the Jan. 7 game was on his mind today. “Especially being from D.C., I want to beat my hometown team,” Durant said, “so hopefully we go out there and get it done. They outplayed us last time. They did some things better than we did and we learned from it. You’re supposed to not play a team’s record. I think in that last game, we coasted. We were up (seven points midway through the third quarter) and we got too cocky.” Wizards guard Bradley Beal hit a 16-foot game-winner with 0.3 seconds remaining in the last meeting. “There’s always that in your heart," Brooks said of avenging any loss. "You want to do better the next time you face that team. I’m still having nightmares over Modesto (Calif.) High. They beat us five times my senior year and I wish I could play them one more time … to give them six times. There’s no question. They beat us. They played well. We had a chance to win at the end. They made some big shots. We definitely want to come in and play better basketball and get the win.” - John Rohde