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Game recap – Wizards at Thunder: Heartbreak City


Thunder 106 Wizards 105

November 10, 2013
Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK
NBA.com boxscore/highlights


It was all so beautiful at one moment. The stage was set. The lead was vast. The spotlight was burning on Bradley Beal, who was reciprocating its heat with a smoking trigger finger en route to a new milestone. And the tables were seemingly turning on the Oklahoma City Thunder on their home floor, a place where they had never lost to the visiting Washington Wizards.

Beal torched the arena for a career-high 34 points on six 3-pointers, including several crucial buckets late in the 4th quarter and overtime. After an Al Harrington 3-pointer with about 3 and a half to play, the Wizards had a 10-point lead. Within the subsequent two minutes, the lead shrunk down to 1 and the Wizards no longer had their starting power forward.

Nene, who had been exchanging jaw flaps with Russell Westbrook throughout the game, was ejected late in the 4th quarter along with Westbrook after the two got into a lunchroom shove match. That seemed to have set the tone for Kevin Durant and the Thunder who cruised on offense the rest of the way and took the game 106-105 in overtime.

Spew what you want. Churn out as many excuses as you can manage. Bitch about the “blown” hacking call on John Wall at the end of overtime. Bitch about Randy Wittman’s decision to sit Bradley Beal on the bench during the late stretch of the 4th quarter when the Thunder, well, thundered their way back into the game. But for me personally, I couldn’t have generated a better explanation for last night’s dissipation more profoundly than Al Harrington in the locker room after the game: “Forget all that. We missed 13 free throws.”

Amen, dude. The Wizards simply buried an opportunity to pull off a stunner in OKC last night by squandering their free throw attempts. And, sure, I’m not denying the questionability of several other occurrences outside of the charity stripe, but botched opportunities at the free throw line will ALWAYS remain the most daunting factor in a team’s demise, and last night was a perfect illustration of that.

A tone setting win at the start of this mini-road trip slipped away from the Wizards and unfortunately for us fans, the term “moral victory” won’t save our aching hearts anymore. This team has proven its resilience and toughness, and more importantly, its talent. A late-game lead like last night’s are now meant to be maintained. These types of wins are expected now, regardless of the strength of opponent. This one hurt.


MVP: Bradley Beal – career-high 34 pts, 6-8 3PT

It took him a few outings, but Bradley Beal is finally at full throttle, folks. Beal, who struggled mightily in his first few games this season, has settled into his zone..his DANGER ZONE. Beal said after the game that he’s felt more and more comfortable and credited his career performance to his teammates finding him. He scored 16 points in 18 minutes in the second half, and his absence was surely felt while he sat on the bench late in the game when the Thunder went on their 9-0 run.

LVP: Eric Maynor, I guess?

I’m not a huge Maynor hater as most Wizards fans and media are so I feel kinda bad this dude has been our LVP in all but one or two games so far. I mean sure, he’s useless at times and usually plays like no more than what he is…a temporary stand-in for John Wall. Eric played 13 minutes last night, rendering zero points and two turnovers. Ok, I guess, yeah, that’s pretty shitty. Oh, but he also delivered a few assists and grabbed a steal. So there was SOME value in him, it was just the least of what the players offered, hence his name in this segment. Moving on.

Key stat of the game: – 13-for-26 from the line

Ugh, must I languish through this again? Like I stated before, no matter what excuse you come up with regarding the loss, it will always fall back to the failure of converting your free throws. Ariza missed a few in the first half, including a tech, Nene was terrible going 4-for-10, and Gortat missed a crucial free throw in overtime that could have at least kept the game tied. The Wizards are shooting 68% from the line as a team this season. Barf.

Tweet of the night:

Never a dull tweet from these weirdos.


What’s next:

The Wizards will move on to the next city on their short 3-game itinerary and play the Mavericks in Dallas. The guys shouldn’t have had much confidence drawn from them after this loss. At least I hope not. The Mavs come in to the game as the second best scoring team in the league, averaging 107 points a contest. Monta Ellis and Dirk Nowitzki have been the Mavs’ 1-2 punch offensively, and lest we forget Jose Calderon who always seems to shine when facing Washington.

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