Thunder 103, Wizards 80

Michael Kinney, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Kevin Martin came off the bench to score 18 points as Oklahoma City defeated Washington 103-80 Wednesday at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.
The win was the third in a row for the Thunder and sixth in their last eight games as they continue to battle San Antonio for the top spot in the West Conference.
The injury ravaged Wizards (26-45) suffered only their third defeat in past nine outings. After a competitive first half, they fell apart on both ends of the court in the second half. Oklahoma City held the Wizards to 35 second half points.
John Wall paced Washington with 17 points and 12 assists. However, he shot a paltry 3-for-18 from the field. Garrett Temple added 13 points while Cartier Martin chipped in with 12 points off the bench.
Oklahoma City (53-19) got 21 points from Russell Westbrook and 18 from Kevin Durant, who shot 4-for-10 from the field. Martin was 6-for 9 from the floor, including 3-for-4 from behind the arc.
Serge Ibaka led the defensive charge with four blocked shots as the Thunder held their opponent under 90 points for the fourth straight contest.
The point guard matchup between Westbrook and Wall had to wait after Westbrook picked up two fouls in the first three minutes of action. He went to the bench for the rest of first quarter, leaving Wall to try to have his way with reserve Reggie Jackson.
However, it was the entire Oklahoma City squad that had a hard time containing Wall.
The Thunder were called for eight fouls in the first period, five of them came guarding Wall. That included Durant fouling Wall on a desperation 3-pointer right before the end of the first quarter. Wall's free throws cut the Thunder lead to 29-23 heading into the second period.
When Wall wasn't on the floor, the rest of the Wizards had a difficult time creating their own shot. They were able to stay in the contest because of Emeka Okafor hustling on the offensive boards. He didn't pull down the rebounds, but kept coming up with tap-outs that led to points for Washington.
Yet, Durant, Martin and Westbrook did just enough to give Oklahoma City a 53-45 halftime advantage.
The Thunder went on a 17-9 run to start the third quarter. Thabo Sefolosha led the charge with eight quick points.
The Wizards' offensive struggles caught up to them in the second half. Wall, who scored 47 the game before, never found the same shooting stroke. He did most of his damage at the free-throw line.
NOTES: According to the Oklahoman, since the start of the 2010-11 season, the year Westbrook became an All-Star, Westbrook is 18-18 in head-to-head matchups against Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, Tony Parker, Rajon Rondo, Deron Williams, Kyrie Irving and Wall. He has a losing record against only Parker (2-6) and Irving (1-2). "It can't be a personal matchup, but it has to be a pride matchup," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "That's how the game works." ... Washington rookie Bradley Beal missed his 10th game out of the last 13 with a nagging sprained ankle. He is not expected back until next week. Beal was averaging 14.2 points a night before the injury. The Wizards were without a total of seven players due to injury or illness: Beal, Leandro Barbosa, Trevor Ariza, Nene, A.J. Price, Martell Webster and Jason Collins. ... Even though he's busy coaching the Wizards, Randy Wittman still keeps an eye on his alma mater, Indiana. He was part of the 1981 NCAA championship team, and he's looking for this year's squad to add another title. "I don't care who they play, just win and advance," Wittman said. "At this point in time, that's all you want to do. Doesn't matter if it's ugly, all you want to do is win."

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