Wall scored 18 points with 12 assists and four rebounds in 35 minutes but missed 15 of his 18 shots in what he admitted was a stressful night. Twelve of Walls misses came from 10 feet and beyond, as the Thunder clogged the paint and made the notoriously poor shooter settle for shots that are not his strengths.
Wall made just one jump shot, a pull-up from 13 feet. His other two baskets were on fast breaks, one of them on a lucky bounce off teammate Trevor Booker.
“We wanted to make sure that he did not get into the paint and get any easy shots early,” Brooks said. “We wanted to make him a jump shooter and I thought we did a good job of that.”
With Wall struggling, and Washington without four of its next five best scorers, the Wizards were toast. They shot 32.1 percent, which marked the 17th time this season the Thunder has held an opponent under 40 percent shooting.
“I thought we did a good job on the pick-and-roll and helping the helper,” said Thabo Sefolosha, who shared duty defending Wall throughout the night. “I think that was the key. Communication has been pretty good the last couple of games and it was good again tonight.”
The Thunder took a 53-45 halftime lead after holding Washington to 30.4 percent shooting in the opening half. The Wizards hung around by working their way to the foul line, where they made 13 of 17, and hitting the offensive glass to rack up 16 second-chance points. The Thunder at that point had only two.
Wall, however, was just 1-for-11 from the field at the break.
The night never got better for him nor his team.
“They got a lot of guys injured, so we knew he was going to come out and try to be aggressive,” said Nick Collison. “We just tried to keep a tight paint and not give him a lot of daylight to get to the rim.”