Mar 27, 2013; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) handles the ball against Washington Wizards center Emeka Okafor (50) during the second half at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Wizards vs. Oklahoma City Thunder preview: It’s the Kevin Durant Show


The Wizards finished 2-2 on their west coast road trip, beating the Phoenix Suns and Golden State Warriors away from home, but their toughest challenge will come at home tonight against Kevin Durant the surging Oklahoma City Thunder. The game tips off at 7:00 PM from the Verizon Center.

Key Match Up:

Averaging over 31 points, over 5 assists, and nearly 8 rebounds per game, Kevin Durant has undoubtedly been the Most Valuable Player for the first half of the season and he’s shown no signs of slowing down, despite having to carry the team alone in Russell Westbrook’s absence. Durant has been absolutely unstoppable lately, putting up 37 points in the last 10 contests. Nobody has gotten close to containing Durant, including LeBron James, who’s been widely considered the best player in the world. That’s scary.

The Wizards, specifically Trevor Ariza, are going to have to find a way to contain Durant, which has been virtually impossible this season. Durant will inevitably get his 30+ points, so it’s important that the rest of the team is kept at bay. When Kevin Durant gets going, everyone else on their team starts to feed off his energy. Durant will hit tough shots all night long, but it’s better for him to knock them down than Jeremy Lamb or Reggie Jackson. Trevor Ariza has done a pretty good job defensively, but I can’t see how he’ll be able to contain Durant. If he could get him to take some tough shots from the perimeter, I’d consider it a job well done. If Durant gets to the lane at will, the game will pretty much be over. He’s been fascinating to watch, but the Wizards have put up some good fights against the Thunder, including an overtime loss on the road earlier this season.

Notes:

  • The Thunder are third in points per game, fourth in rebounding, and are also sporting a top-10 defense. Yeah, they’re pretty good.
  • Oklahoma City is looking to win their 11th straight game against the Wizards tonight. They’re 18-7 away from home, while the Wizards are trying to get back to .500. Yikes.
  • According to ESPN, the Thunder have surprisingly lost their last two games in Washington.

Prediction:

If anybody is going to pull off a stunning upset, it’s going to be this Wizards team. It’s impossible to predict the outcome of their games, given how inconsistent they’ve been this season, but I just don’t see them getting a win tonight.

Kevin Durant has been on a tear, to say the least, and the Wizards don’t have anybody on their roster that won’t get overwhelmed by him. Serge Ibaka, Jeremy Lamb, and Reggie Jackson have all stepped up in Russell Westbrook’s absence, making them an even tougher match up for anybody in the league.

John Wall and Bradley Beal are going to have to play great games tonight for the Wizards to stay competitive, but the responsibility will likely go to the big men. Nene and Marcin Gortat should have the advantage over Oklahoma City Thunder’s front court, which could give the Wizards a chance to win tonight. They can’t let the Thunder get many second chance opportunities, or it’ll get ugly fast.

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