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Washington ends OKC Thunder's 10-game winning streak

by Darnell Mayberry Published: February 1, 2014
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photo - From left to right, Oklahoma City Thunder center Kendrick Perkins forward Nick Collison and forward Kevin Durant sit on the bench, in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014, in Washington. The Wizards won 96-81. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
From left to right, Oklahoma City Thunder center Kendrick Perkins forward Nick Collison and forward Kevin Durant sit on the bench, in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014, in Washington. The Wizards won 96-81. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

WASHINGTON — For the second straight night, one streak ended and another continued.

Twenty-four hours after Kevin Durant's 12-game run of scoring at least 30 points concluded at Brooklyn, the Thunder's league-best 10-game winning streak was snapped with a 96-81 upset loss at Washington on Saturday.

It was the third straight loss the Thunder has suffered at Washington, continuing an inexplicable trend of head-scratching performances in the nation's capital. Oklahoma City hasn't won at Washington since March 14, 2011, and is now just 2-4 all-time against the Wizards in D.C.

In 2012, the Wizards halted a seven-game Thunder winning streak with a three-point win. They entered that game just 1-12. Last season, Bradley Beal nailed the game-winning jumper to lift an injury-plagued 4-28 Wizards squad to victory.

This time, the Thunder was outplayed from the start, coming out sluggish and sloppy and losing its only lead of the night after Washington tied the score at 2-2 just 70 seconds into the game.

OKC trailed by as many as 17, and as the final seconds ticked off the clock, a sold-out crowd of 20,356, many of them clad in Thunder merchandise, gave the home team a standing ovation.

“We didn't do a lot of things that we've done on this road trip,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “We grew on this road trip. Two of our wins were good wins. Today, I thought we didn't improve tonight, which is disappointing but it's not the end of the world. We've done a good job of bouncing back and getting better.”

Turnovers told the story of the game for the Thunder.

OKC had two in the first two minutes and coughed it up 10 times in the opening period, foreshadowing the kind of night it would be. Five Thunder players had at least one turnover in the first quarter alone, and they came in almost every conceivable way: on sloppy passes, loose ball-handling, an illegal screen and a charging violation.

By night's end, the Thunder had given it away 21 times, leading to 23 Wizards points.

“The turnovers gave them opportunities to score in transition, and it didn't give us a chance to get a rhythm offensively,” Brooks said.

Uncharacteristic carelessness resulted in the Thunder getting outscored 25-13 in the opening period. It was the fewest points OKC has scored in the first quarter this season.

Not much changed in the final three frames, and the end result was the Thunder's worst offensive performance since the second game of the season. OKC's point total tied a season-low, set Nov. 1 at Minnesota.

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by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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