Posted January 17, 2012 on
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A seven-game winning streak has Oklahoma City atop the NBA. A matchup with the league-worst Washington Wizards should give the Thunder a very good chance to keep rolling.
Oklahoma City looks to extend its longest winning streak in two seasons Wednesday night in the nation's capital, where it goes for its sixth consecutive victory over the Wizards.
The Thunder (12-2) opened a three-game trip with a 97-88 victory over Boston on Monday. Kevin Durant scored 28 points and Russell Westbrook added 26 for Oklahoma City, which is on the franchise's longest win streak since a nine-game run Jan. 29-Feb. 21, 2010.
Another win would give the franchise its best start since the Seattle SuperSonics went 13-2 to open 2004-05. Oklahoma City also owns the best road mark in the league and has won four in a row away from home.
"We were so close to getting to the (NBA) finals last year - that's something we want to get back to," Durant said of the Thunder reaching the conference finals last season. "... We want to step it up a notch, and that's what we've been doing since training camp - everybody coming in focused and in shape. We're having a decent season."
Oklahoma City's defensive intensity has played a major role in that. The Thunder are giving up 92.1 points and 43.2 percent shooting during their streak.
That could spell trouble for the Wizards (1-12), who are averaging 86.2 points and 41.0 percent from the field. Washington made a season-best 48.8 percent of its shots Monday but dropped its fourth in a row, 114-106 to Houston.
"We're playing with a little bit better spark, but as I told the guys in there, it ain't getting any easier," said coach Flip Saunders, whose team plays Denver, Boston and Atlantic Division-leading Philadelphia after the Thunder leave town. "... We've got to buckle down and look at the good things we did and build off those things."
Probably the best news for the Wizards lately has been the improved play of John Wall. Shooting 37.8 percent from the field on the season, the second-year point guard went 13 of 22 and scored a career-high 38 points Monday.
"I know it's great to have those type of numbers, but it don't mean nothing if you don't have a win, so I just think I had a good game, but I didn't get the win,'' said Wall, who shot 32.4 percent and totaled 27 points in two losses to Oklahoma City last season.
The Wizards haven't beaten the Thunder since a 104-95 home win Dec. 27, 2008 - the first matchup between the teams after Oklahoma City relocated from Seattle.
Durant, who grew up in the Washington, D.C. area, is averaging 31.1 points in seven games against the Wizards - his highest mark against any team.
He had 40 points in a 124-117 double-overtime win over the Wizards on Jan. 28, then scored 32 in a 116-89 victory at Washington on March 14.
Westbrook is averaging 21.7 points during the win streak.
Oklahoma City is trying to open 7-1 on the road for the first time since the Sonics' 8-1 start in 1996-97.
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