OKC Thunder: Washington improves to 2-12 after beating first-place Thunder

Lack of focus contributed to Oklahoma City suffering its most embarrassing loss of the season, snapping a seven-game win streak.
BY DARNELL MAYBERRY, Staff Writer, dmayberry@opubco.com Published: January 18, 2012
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Washington guard Jordan Crawford made the first of two to give the Wizards a five-point lead with 30.9 seconds remaining. He clanged the second, giving the Thunder a shot to make it a one-possession game and put enormous pressure on Washington to get a bucket in the closing seconds. But the Thunder watched second-year forward Trevor Booker and his 79 games of experience rebound the miss under the board. When Booker missed a point-blank layup, Crawford recovered the ricochet that had squirted out near the sideline.

“They just played harder than us,” said forward Kevin Durant.

In what has become a recurring theme for Thunder opponents through the first 15 games, Washington bullied Oklahoma City on the boards, out-rebounding the Thunder 52-43, including an eye-popping 19-6 advantage on the offensive end. Wizards center JaVale McGee (game-high 11 rebounds) and power forward Andray Blatche (10 rebounds) both finished with double-digit rebound performances. Together, they had more offensive rebounds (nine) than the Thunder had as a team.

That inability to close out possessions, coupled with poor offense that was defined by a lack of ball movement (15 assists) and too many turnovers (21) ultimately is what doomed the Thunder.

In spite of it all, OKC had one final chance to tie the game in the closing seconds. Durant, however, saw his 27-foot 3-point attempt from the top of the arc bounce off the right of the iron with 1.9 seconds remaining, trickling the final seconds off the clock as teammate Thabo Sefolosha scrambled for a rebound. Though from a different spot, it was the same shot, off the same play, that Durant drilled at the buzzer against Dallas on Dec. 29. This time, though, the Wizards fought harder through the double screen set by James Harden and Kendrick Perkins and forced Durant into a second option rather than a rhythmic catch-and-shoot.

“I still got a wide-open look,” Durant said. “I just happened to not make it. It happens, man.”

It wasn't supposed to, a loss like this.

Not this year.

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