Thunder-Wizards Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 06, 2013
Though things could get more challenging while they spend a majority of the next few weeks on the road, the NBA-leading Oklahoma City Thunder looked pretty comfortable as the visiting team in their last game. A matchup against the league's worst club isn't likely to give them much trouble, either. Oklahoma City visits the nation's capital Monday night seeking a sixth win in seven games against the Washington Wizards. Two nights after routing Philadelphia to improve to 17-3 at home, the Thunder (26-7) began a stretch of 11 of 13 on the road Sunday with a 104-92 victory over last-place Toronto. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook scored a combined 45 points and dished out seven assists apiece for the Thunder, who outscored the Raptors 17-9 in transition and held a 46-32 edge in the paint. "We just want to keep on playing like we're at home and keep on racking up the wins," said Kevin Martin, who added 16 points. Oklahoma City proved very unselfish with the basketball Sunday, compiling 24 assists to bring its record to 16-1 since the start of last season when reaching that mark. "That's definitely going to be a continued key going into every game," coach Scott Brooks told the team's official website. "We just have to keep moving the basketball. We're good when we force the defense to chase the ball around and the ball finds a good shot. It's not really who finds it, as long as it's a good shot. We've done that most of the year and we just have to continue to build on those habits." The Thunder will look to do just that against Washington (4-28), which had dropped five straight in this series before pulling out a 105-102 home win last Jan. 18. Durant and Westbrook combined for 69 points in that game while injured point guard John Wall led the Wizards with 25. Washington enters this game mired in a 1-13 skid after falling 99-71 at Miami on Sunday. Kevin Seraphin and fellow reserve Cartier Martin scored 14 and 13 points for the Wizards, whose starting five was limited to 29 points on 11-of-44 shooting. Despite those struggles, Washington managed to cut the Heat's lead to seven with just over seven minutes remaining but was outscored 21-0 the rest of the way. "Every time we came back, we got lazy," Seraphin said. "We have to learn that every time we come back, we have to keep going to get stops." While very little has gone its way, Washington has been especially bad when playing the second of back-to-backs. The Wizards are 0-9 in such games while averaging 86.2 points - even lower than their league-worst mark of 88.9. Durant is averaging 31.4 points in this series - his highest mark against any opponent. In addition to trying to contain him and Westbrook, the Wizards will also have to be wary of Martin. The veteran guard has put up 24.1 points per game versus Washington - also his highest total against any team. The Thunder have won their last 16 games when Martin scores at least 16.
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