When: 8 p.m. Eastern Time
Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City
TV: CSN-Washington and Fox Sports Oklahoma
Radio: 1500 AM locally and the Wizards Radio App
Washington: Ian Mahinmi- Gametime decision (knee)
Oklahoma City: None
What to Watch For
How do the Wizards guard Russell Westbrook?
The answer to this question will determine the outcome of the game. Russell Westbrook is currently averaging a 30 point triple double, which is unprecedented in today’s game. Even with pace accounted for, the Thunder only use 98.7 possessions per game. In the season that Oscar Robertson last averaged a triple double in the 1961-62 season, the Cincinnati Royals had 124.9 possessions per game.
What Westbrook has been able to do this season is unprecedented and quite remarkable. At this point, you have to expect that he’ll get his shots off and keep getting his touches. But he uses 40 percent of Oklahoma City’s possessions when he’s on the court and assists on 60 percent of their field goals. He is their offense, and if the Wizards can make him struggle and keep him away from the rim, they have a great chance of winning the game.
Will Bradley Beal keep up his hot streak?
Over the last six games, Beal has been the Wizards’ best shooter, best scorer and the center of their spacing. In that span, Beal is averaging 27.3 points per game along with 4.2 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game all while shooting 43 percent from deep on 9.2 three point attempts per game.
The Thunder have been mostly good defensively this season and have the 11th ranked defense per 100 possessions in the league. Victor Oladipo, who will likely end up guarding Beal most of the night, has been up and down defensively this season but is known as a solid defender and can lock in when he wants to. They’ll also likely send many double teams Beal’s way to try and force the ball out of his hands with quick decisions. Should Beal be able to counter with the same quick passes and strong fakes he’s been using this season, he’ll be just fine.
Most likely Wizards Killer: Jerami Grant
Grant’s athleticism and speed are two things that the Wizards frontcourt really struggles with. The Thunder are a faster team and he’ll likely be matched up against the likes of Markieff Morris, Jason Smith and Andrew Nicholson all night depending on how Scott Brooks maps out the rotation.
The Wizards will let him shoot, but he’s shooting 39 percent from three this season and has shown improvement in that area. We’ve seen this from Grant before. He’ll get out in transition, get a few slams, hit some corner threes and really be a pain in the side for Washington. Hopefully it’s not enough and the Wizards can come out with their second straight win.