Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Bradley Beal's jumper with 0.3 seconds left carried the Wizards to a shocking 101-99 win over the Thunder.
WASHINGTON -- BEAL WITH IT! TRY THE BEAL! HE'S A QUICK BEALER! THE WAY YOU MAKE ME BEAL! IS THIS BEAL LIFE?
There's really no reason to say any more. I'm so happy for Bradley Beal, and we'll remember that moment for the rest of the season. That was an incredible shot, and this was an incredible 101-99 win. No matter how bad this season has been, that was a great memory.
- There's a reason the Thunder's offense is so good. One team began the team taking a lot of layups and threes. The other began the game clanking mid-range jumpers off the pick and roll.
- Very nice of Russell Westbrook to miss two mid-range pullups and a layup. It's nice when he's not hitting the former.
- Your best hope when you consistently try to shoot jump hooks is that your other big can sneak in there and grab some rebounds when the shots inevitably miss. The good news is the Wizards were getting those rebounds.
- One reason I still believe in Martell Webster despite his struggles since taking over for an injured Trevor Ariza: he's a good corner three-point shooter. Webster's up at 46 percent on those shots this year and he hit his first two tonight, one of which was in transition. When John Wall comes back, that skill will be very valuable.
- Nice stuff from Kevin Seraphin early. It's about time he actually started banging some bodies inside.
- Westbrook and Kevin Martin kept leaving shooters, which is really hard to do against the Wizards. Really poor concentration by them.
- I'm not sure Emeka Okafor in a post ISO is all that sustainable. What is sustainable: that the Wizards got the ball up the court and rotated it completely across the perimeter in eight seconds.
- Oh man, I missed A.J. Price having no ability to run an offense.
- Might want to sit a few plays out, Trevor Ariza. That pull-up jumper in transition with no rebounders was so bad, and the lucky bounce to A.J. Price that led to a Bradley Beal three doesn't excuse anything. And, oh yeah, the Durant thing.
- Price dribbled to the left side for some reason and launched a fallaway 12-footer from the corner, the exact kind of shot that totally screws up floor balance. Naturally, Kevin Martin got a dunk.
- Great activity from Jan Vesely early. I like that they actually let him back down Kevin Durant. It boosted his confidence and got him an easy layup.
- There's not much you can do when Durant is throwing in all those crossovers. Those were incredible.
- You can't have live-ball turnovers against the Thunder. They're too good in the open floor and too quick to take advantage. If you're trying to push the pace on them, you better be damn well it's at the right moment. A frantic rush up the court off a made shot is not the right moment.
- Of course, just as Vesely did some nice things, his lack of rebounding and strength hurt him in a matchup against Serge Ibaka. Washington inverted so much of their help defense to Durant, and Vesely wasn't strong enough to recover and hold Ibaka off the offensive boards.
- One underrated skill of Beal's: the understanding of angles. On defense, he knew to close out between Ibaka from 16 feet and Martin in the corner so he could rush back and contest Martin's more efficient shot. On offense, he was flashing to the corner as Seraphin came to the middle, ready for a kick-out pass. He never got it because Seraphin got a close shot, but it pays to be ready.
- Seraphin did a poor job holding his defensive rebounding position in the early stages of the second half. He also ran backwards as Russell Westbrook came at him instead of turning around.
- The Wizards had a decent game plan to try to get the ball inside and make the game deliberate, but they could never string together enough efficient possessions to pull it off. For every nice Seraphin post move, there was also a possession where he got stuffed by Serge Ibaka and was pulled off the block. The problem is that the Thunder's offense is so fast to take advantage of live-ball turnovers, and those points add up.
- Really enjoyed seeing the Wizards running for transition corner threes. That's the shot they will get all the time when Wall gets back. Webster hit all three of his, and it was nice to see the Wizards swing it around to set up those shots.
- I almost feel like the Thunder got complacent with their half-court offense and just ran a bunch of Durant ISOs in that third quarter. It's almost like the Wizards lured them into a false sense of security.
- Ariza has got to understand that he's out of rhythm. It's not like he has to shoot a certain number of shots in the limited minutes he's playing.
- It's amazing how much different Beal looks now than he did a month ago. He was really aggressive coming off screens, and I loved the way he got into Westbrook when he guarded him in the third quarter.
- Weird Thunder lineup to start the fourth quarter.
- I've been critical of A.J. Price, but he did some good things in the fourth quarter. I liked his ball pressure, which is always solid, and I also liked when he dribble-probed to get a layup. Those plays are dangerous, but I don't mind my guards being aggressive when they go to the rim. The issue is when he fades to the corner or pulls up from mid-range.
- The Wizards' defense really did a nice job early in the fourth quarter. The Thunder weren't running great offense, but the Wizards continue to ward off the paint really well. I don't think Durant or Westbrook had a lot of straight-line layups in the second half.
- Amazing to see Seraphin aggressively attack the basket. The spin move on Ibaka that led to Vesely's putback was the kind of move we haven't seen in forever. Maybe Seraphin just needed to start and/or get a steady diet of post touches to keep him going.
- The Wizards had a ton of offensive rebounds, which I attribute to Oklahoma City's own laziness. It's a risky strategy to go for so many offensive boards, but the Wizards got the good bounces and OKC never put a body on their guys.
- Not wild about some of the late-game execution starting at the five-minute mark on down. We blamed Jordan Crawford for the offense breaking down on Friday, but Garrett Temple was just as bad running the offense for large stretches. The problem is that defenses really tighten up, and nobody on the team is able to consistently get open, whether it's off basic cuts or screens. When they don't get open, they give up.
- Oof, unfortunate travel by Seraphin off the scramble play on the free-throw rebound. Webster and Temple did the right thing trying to take advantage of the chaos, but Seraphin couldn't finish. FACT: Wittman was not happy with the way Seraphin fought for post position on the previous play and had him jog all the way down to the Wizards' bench to tell him so. THEORY: Seraphin was mentally out of it because he was thinking about what Wittman told him.
- WELP, after a quarter of keeping Durant out of the lane, they let him throw down a thunderous slam with two minutes left.
- That Webster four-point play was so, so, so lucky, but I'll take it.
- What is A.J. Price doing? He had Seraphin vs. Westbrook on a switch, and he couldn't get it there. Then, Sefolosha switched to Seraphin and Price didn't do anything to create a passing angle to get Seraphin the ball. Unbelievable. Then, on the ensuing possession, he broke a play to go one-on-one on a big and missed so, so badly. That was beyond horrible. You thought Crawford was bad on Friday. This was so much worse.