The one word that is used about the Wizards under coach Randy Wittman, from veterans past such as Paul Pierce and Andre Miller, to present is "preparation." It's second to none, but it was inadequate in regards to Serge Ibaka in a blowout loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Wittman said before tip off that his bigs should be more effective because against the Thunder they didn't have to chase a stretch power forward. While Ibaka, who always has been a good mid-range shooter at 6-10, was at 16.7% from three-point range going into Tuesday's game, he made them pay dearly for focusing too much on Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
"We knew Serge could step out and shoot threes. He hit a little bit more than we expected," said Wizards rookie Kelly Oubre. "We thought he wasn't shooting that much this year. He stepped out, ventured into his range. He was hitting tonight. We weren't focused on that moreso. Focused on Russ and KD. He had a great game."
To be exact, Ibaka had 23 points, making all of this three-point attempts as the Thunder led 68-50 at halftime. His first triple broke a 6-6 tie. A couple of point-blank shots from him later and the Thunder were up by 14 after the first quarter. The next trey made the score 58-44. Then in the third quarter, Ibaka's final three pushed the score to 80-54.
And Westbrook still got his triple-double with 22 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds in only 28 minutes. Durant had a double-double, 14 points and 10 rebounds, in just 17 minutes before a left hamstring strain kept him out after halftime.
The Wizards were 0-for-3.
"You focus on the other two guys but come on, Ibaka is a great defensive player for them. He's one of the best four men in mid-range jump shots. That's where he makes his living at," Wizards point guard John Wall said. "He made corner threes. That's where he's been shooting. They just outrebounded and outhustled us on every play. Loose balls or offensive rebounds. That's where you lose the game with a team like that."
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