WASHINGTON — So … about those bananas.
Seeing as how Russell Westbrook refused to say if you're allowed to “go bananas” after this latest Thunder loss, a shameful 101-99 setback to the woeful Washington Wizards, dig up all the Doles you can and dig in.
The best team in basketball just lost to the worst.
Wizards rookie Bradley Beal, the third overall pick who the Thunder reportedly attempted to acquire in October in exchange for James Harden, delivered the dagger, hitting a 16-foot, leaning one-hander from straight away with three tenths of a second remaining Monday.
It gave the Wizards just their fifth win in 33 tries this year.
Worst of all, Washington was without its two leading scorers in guard Jordan Crawford and center Nene. Not to mention John Wall, the 2010 No. 1 overall pick, has yet to make his season debut while rehabbing a knee injury.
Oh, and you can't forget that the Wizards walked into Monday's game ranked last in scoring at 88.9 points per game.
As for how Oklahoma City ended up here — stunned for the second straight season in Washington — there simply isn't enough ink to run down the Thunder's ills from this one.
Kevin Durant tried anyway.
“We weren't disciplined. We weren't solid on defense. We went stretches without moving the ball,” he said. “You're playing against a team who's playing hard every game and got nothing to lose and you can be beat.”
Durant said something similar before the game. At the time, it had the stench of a stale cliché. By the final buzzer, however, that message would be well reinforced.
The first quarter, as it has so many times this season, foreshadowed what was to come. Despite the Wizards being without 40 percent of their offense when you include Cartier Martin's absence, Washington posted a 30-point opening period. They toyed with the Thunder's perimeter defense, taking and making shots from nearly every spot on the floor as the Thunder looked disinterested in closing out properly and putting a hand in someone's face.
The Wizards knocked down four of five 3-pointers in the first quarter and swished 10 of 18 for the game.
“We weren't making them miss shots early,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “We were just hoping that they missed some 3s. We were (allowing) too many ‘dare shots.' When you give a guy a dare shot the basket becomes bigger and they make those tough shots like they did tonight.”
Few were tougher than Beal's. After Durant capped a 10-point, fourth-quarter comeback with a 3-pointer from the left wing that tied the score at 99-all with 36.5 seconds remaining, the Wizards got the ball back with an upset in mind. A.J. Price missed a jump shot, but the ball went out of bounds off the Thunder with 12.2 seconds remaining. That gave Washington a chance for the final shot.
Beal, who was being defended by Thabo Sefolosha, used a high ball screen from Kevin Seraphin and it resulted in a favorable matchup for Washington when Thunder center Kendrick Perkins switched onto the 6-foot-5 Wizards guard. Beal immediately went to work, going left into a two-dribble pull-up. Both Perkins and a helping Sefolosha bit on a pump fake, allowing Beal to duck underneath Perkins and lean in for the off-balanced game-winner.
“Looking back, we probably shouldn't have switched,” Sefolosha said.
Add that breakdown to the long list of Thunder mistakes.
Oklahoma City never led by more than seven points. At halftime, the Thunder was ahead by just two. Entering the fourth, the Thunder trailed by three.
“We gave them a lot of confidence early, and down the stretch they hit tough shots to win the game,” said Kendrick Perkins.
Turnovers and poor defensive rebounding burned the Thunder in the fourth quarter. OKC allowed six offensive rebounds, which led to 12 second-chance points. And the Thunder had three turnovers in the period's first six minutes, punctuating a shocking stretch of stagnancy.
“I think we've improved in that area quite a bit this season, but it snuck up on us,” Brooks said of the rickety defensive rebounding.
All that kept the Thunder from getting embarrassed was its ability to get to the free throw line in the fourth quarter. OKC made 12 of 14 from the foul line in the final frame but simply couldn't stop the Wizards at the other end.
After the Thunder players walked of the court, most of them with their heads hung, the silence in the locker room lingered long after what had just took place. Many were slow to hit the showers and even slower to get dressed.
If they didn't believe it before the game, reality surely had set in afterward.
“We can be beat by anybody,” Durant said.