January 02 at Oklahoma City
The cries are already loud and clear for a Kevin Durant homecoming in 2016. What better way to influence those
Feb 1, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards power forward Nene (42) dunk the ball as Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Kevin Durant (35) looks on in the second quarter at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
cries than by walking into the arena that KD built and showing him who has the better team?
Washington has played strong against Oklahoma City in recent memory. Last season, the Thunder held home court with a 106-15 overtime victory – a game which Bradley Beal scored a game-high 34 points. In D.C. in February, Washington returned the favor with a 96-81 win.
In the 2012-13 season, the Wizards pulled out a 101-99 victory at home before losing by 23 in Oklahoma City later in the season.
Although Durant is currently recovering from foot surgery, the reigning MVP is scheduled to return before the game takes place.
Winning in Oklahoma City will be no easy task. The Thunder can contain the Wizards down low with the size of Steven Adams and defensive ability of Serge Ibaka (2.7 blocks per game last season). Durant is arguably the best shooter in the NBA, and Russell Westbrook can play to the speed of John Wall on fast breaks and in the half-court offense.
If the Wizards are to come away with a win, Wall will have to bring out the sloppy side of Westbrook. The seventh-year point guard averaged 6.3 turnovers per 100 possessions last season. Beal, who has had success against the Thunder, will need to be the star offensively against Reggie Jackson, as the shooting guard matchup may be the only one that favors the Wizards on paper.
A win could go a long way in persuading Durant to return home, while also showing the league that these Wiz Kids are contenders once again.