Wizards-Thunder Preview


While the Oklahoma City Thunder are starting to hit their stride behind Kevin Durant's impressive play, they're also getting significant contributions from their supporting cast.

The Thunder go for a fourth consecutive win Sunday night against the visiting Washington Wizards, who appear to have turned a corner following a slow start.

Averaging an NBA-best 29.6 points in the early going, Durant scored 37 and added eight rebounds, seven assists and three steals in Friday's 119-110 victory at Detroit. The three-time scoring champion, who shot 9 of 15 and made 17 of 19 free throws, has compiled 93 points on 52.0 percent shooting during the team's run.

"Kevin is always about winning," coach Scott Brooks told the Thunder's official website. "I could not say enough good things. I could stand up here for 20 days straight and continue to talk about all the good things he brings to our team, our organization and our city. He's a winner and he's a leader. I'm fortunate to be coaching him."

Oklahoma City (4-1) also got a huge boost from rookie Steven Adams, who chipped in 17 points and 10 rebounds off the bench. Adams, selected 12th overall in this year's NBA draft, had scored a combined 18 points in the first four games but could start to see a bigger role going forward.

"Steven had a terrific game. He's getting better every day because he works hard, he has great hands and finishes around the basket," Brooks said. "I like his energy and effort and that's what I tell him. The pressure is to play hard every night and to play for your teammates every night and the stats will work itself out."

The Thunder's reserves are averaging 34.6 points, 4.8 more than last season's mark, and guard Jeremy Lamb is fourth on the team with 10.2 per contest.

"A team is not just one guy or two guys, it's the not the starting five," Brooks said. "It's the one-through-14 in our group. That's what I love about our group. We're going to keep pushing each other and my job is to find the right matchups and the right buttons to push throughout the game."

Things have started to click for Washington (2-3), which is seeking a third straight victory after beating Brooklyn 112-108 in overtime Friday. Second-year guard Bradley Beal matched a career high with 29 points and Nene scored 20 as the Wizards erased an 11-point deficit with 4:25 left in regulation.

Marcin Gortat added 15 points and 12 rebounds and John Wall delivered 17 points, 14 assists, six boards and four steals.

"If you want to be a good team and have a chance of being in the playoffs, you've got to win close games," said Wall, who shot just 4 of 14. "We didn't give up."

Wall also had a rough shooting night as Washington suffered its fourth consecutive loss at Oklahoma City, 103-80 on March 27. The 2010 No. 1 overall pick went 3 for 18 from the field, finishing with 18 points and 12 assists.

Wall is shooting 29.0 percent in four career matchups against the Thunder, by far his lowest mark against any opponent.

Russell Westbrook, meanwhile, is averaging 27.3 points on 52.3 percent shooting and 8.0 assists in his last three home games versus Washington.

Westbrook, though, has struggled to find his form in three games since returning earlier than expected from a knee injury. The All-Star point guard, who went 5 of 19 from the field Friday, is averaging 21.0 points but shooting just 36.4 percent.

Durant is averaging 32.0 points in seven meetings with the Wizards since 2009-10.