Following what could be classified as the Oklahoma City Thunder's worst loss in franchise history, players refused to concede that they overlooked the woeful Washington Wizards.
“Nah,” said Kendrick Perkins. “We always come out and play. I just think we came out worrying about offense instead of defense. We were playing one side (of the court) all night. We just ain't take care of the defensive end.”
The Thunder lost, 101-99, on a miraculous one-handed jumper Wizards rookie Bradley Beal drained with three-tenths of a second remaining. After Russell Westbrook missed a desperation heave, the Wizards and their announced crowd of 16,917 inside Verizon Center celebrated as the stunned Thunder slowly walked off the court, heads hung.
It was only the fifth win for Washington, the league's worst team, in 33 tries this season.
“We didn't play well and they did,” said coach Scott Brooks. “They played inspired basketball. They played hard. They deserved to win the game. There's no way around it. They played better than us.”
Washington upset Oklahoma City for the second straight season in the nation's capital. Last year, the Thunder dropped a 105-102 decision. This time, the Wizards were without their best three players in John Wall, Nene and Jordan Crawford, as well as key reserves Trevor Booker and Cartier Martin.
Wall has yet to play this season, but the other four absent Wizards players account for 47 percent of Washington's offense — an offense that entered the game averaging a league-low 88.9 points yet scored 101 on OKC.
Kevin Durant, who warned an hour before tipoff that the Thunder could lose to any team, came as close as anyone after the game to admitting the Thunder simply didn't reserve the proper level of respect for the injury-depleted Wizards.
“We up seven or eight points and we're letting them stick around just because we're not taking it serious enough,” Durant said. “We can't do that, man. And that falls back on the leaders of the team.”