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Wizards vs. Thunder: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Wizards vs. Thunder: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

John Wall, Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards host Russell Westbrook, Victor Oladipo and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night as they aim to continue rising the ranks of the NBA's Eastern Conference.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch…


Where: Verizon Center
Tip-off: 8 p.m. (pregame coverage at 7 p.m. on CSN, postgame after)
Live stream: TNTdrama.com
Radio: 1500 AM

Three things to watch...

Wall's ankle

Every time the Wizards open their doors at practice to the media, reporters walk in and immediately take a headcount. Every once in a while someone will be missing. Sometimes it's because they hit the showers early, while other times it is due to injury. On Sunday, there was one very notable absence. In the corner, and in sweats and sandals, sat John Wall with a biowave machine hooked up to his left leg.

It turns out Wall sprained his ankle in Friday night's win over the Pacers and despite having Saturday off, the Wizards held him out of practice on Sunday to rest. Wall said he is fine and his coach Scott Brooks said the same. But it still bears watching, of course, as Wall is their best player and on Monday will have a tough matchup in Russell Westbrook, maybe the only guy in the NBA as fast and tough to stay in front of as him.

Wall, by the way, is just one 20-point and 10-assist performance from breaking a team record:

[RELATED: Markieff Morris taxes defenses that forget about him]

Looking for revenge

The first time these two teams squared off, on Nov. 30 in Oklahoma City, the Wizards let a winnable game slip away. Westbrook knocked down a three-pointer in the closing seconds of regulation to force overtime. The Thunder then blew the Wizards out in the extra period, 21-10. Now the Wizards will look to avenge that loss after since turning their season completely around. Washington has gone 26-10. They are 16-3 in their last 19 games.

When the Wizards first played the Thunder, Washington was a 6-10 team and Wall had yet to play himself into shape after two offseason knee surgeries. Wall was limited to 15 points on 6-of-20 shooting and the Wizards' 25-5 deficit in fastbreak points was unusual. The Wizards are sixth in the NBA in fastbreak points (15.2/g) and that has a lot to do with Wall. Certainly, the expect better results in that category this time around.

[RELATED: Brooks reacts to Durant being booed by Thunder fans]

100-point mark

I have been throwing around a stat in recent days involving the Wizards scoring 100 points or more. They currently hold a streak of 20 straight games where they have hit or surpassed the 100-point mark and that's the longest run for the franchise since 1989 when the Bullets did it in 26 straight games. No team in franchise history has gone past 27 since 1970. The longest streak in Wizards/Bullets history is 48. That was done twice, in 1965 and 1967.

Consider this: at 20 games the Wizards are just two short of the longest 100-point streak that Brooks ever had in Oklahoma City. The Thunder got to 22 in March of the 2014-15 season, just a month before he was fired. So, if the Wizards hit 100 in their next three games, they will do something Kevin Durant and Westbrook never did together and the same applies to their earlier years with superstar James Harden in the mix. Put it in that context, and it's no small feat. 

In case you were wondering: no, the Wizards aren't close to the NBA record whatsoever, nor are they close to this season's longest streak. The longest ever was 136 games by the Denver Nuggets in December of 1982. That streak began the previous January in 1981. The longest streak this season is the Houston Rockets, at 43 games and still counting. They are the only team to do it longer than 37 games this century. In fact, they are just one of three teams since 2000 to go beyond 30. The other two were the 2008 Warriors (37) and the current Warriors, whose 30-game streak is still alive. If the Wizards get to 100 on Monday, though, they will be one of just 10 teams since 2000 to score 100 or more in 21 straight.

[RELATED: Barkley and Shaq say John Wall is East's best point guard]

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Expectations weren't high, but at 2-7 are the Wizards underachieving?

Expectations weren't high, but at 2-7 are the Wizards underachieving?

Should the Wizards be better than this?

Certainly, what has transpired so far this season has not been all that surprising. They let more talent leave than they brought in over the summer, but by-design to get younger players with more long-term upside and more financial flexibility. With the roster they put together, few out there had any delusions of them contending for a top seed in the Eastern Conference.

But after nine games they sit 2-7, as certifiably one of the worst teams in basketball. No teams have fewer wins than the Wizards and only three have more losses. Those three are the Pelicans (Zion Williamson got hurt), the Warriors (everyone got hurt) and the Knicks. Hey, at least they're not the Knicks.

A 2-7 record, though, is a 2-7 record and some of the numbers aren't pretty. The Wizards are allowing 120 points per game, fourth-most in the NBA. Their 114.6 defensive rating is 29th out of 30 teams.

To be fair, we knew they were going to be dreadful defensively. Though they made some astute moves in the offseason, they basically brought in all offensive-minded players. 

Yes, much of what has happened for the Wizards this season has been predictable. But when you bring a magnifying glass over the big picture things have been, well, just okay so far.

When it comes to individuals, it's a mixed bag. Rui Hachimura has been a nice surprise because of how quickly he has translated to the NBA as a rookie. Thomas Bryant looks at least marginally improved. His trajectory appears to be continuing upward.

Moe Wagner has been solid, at least showing enough to prove he isn't the bust he resembled last year in L.A.. Davis Bertans has been excellent, giving general manager Tommy Sheppard an early feather in his cap by possibly beating the vaunted Spurs in a trade.

Isaiah Thomas has been mostly good so far. He may not be the All-NBA star from his Boston days, but the Wizards are at least getting more than Denver got out of him last year. 

But there have been some relative disappointments. Ish Smith and C.J. Miles haven't gotten going yet, though their long veteran track records should present some hope.

Troy Brown Jr. has not shown anything to suggest a second-year leap, but he missed all of the preseason with a calf injury and may need some time to catch up. Jordan McRae hasn't been great either, but should also be graded on a curve because of his injury.

We haven't seen anything conclusive yet from Admiral Schofield or Justin Robinson. Isaac Bonga was okay when he started the first seven games of the season, but showed nothing to write home about.

There have been some positives and some negatives, which is to be expected. Their latest loss was understandable, as they fell in Boston to the NBA-best 9-1 Celtics on Wednesday night. But their loss the game before, by double-digits at home to the Cavaliers, was a head-scratcher.

And still, 2-7 is 2-7. Right now, the Wizards look safely headed towards the lottery, hoping the ping-pong balls bring them a future star in James Wiseman or Cole Anthony.

Really, if that happens and they fall well short of the playoffs, it's okay. They are going to need more building blocks, anyways.

The Wizards are a franchise in transition, having just restructured their front office. The early part of this season is essentially baseline testing. It's not about how they look now, it's what they turn into by the end of the season and the foundation they lay for the future.

This year will be viewed as a success if Hachimura and Bryant continue to ascend, if Brown Jr. turns a corner and if some combination of Wagner, Schofield and Bonga show promise. Maybe Bertans, Thomas and Miles are flipped at the trade deadline for future assets.

It's still very early. We are just getting a good read on what the Wizards are at the moment.

As long as they make progress and trend up from here, things will be fine. If they don't, then there might be a different conversation.


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Rui Hachimura bluntly describes Wizards' defensive struggles this season

Rui Hachimura bluntly describes Wizards' defensive struggles this season

The Wizards didn't just drop their third straight to fall to 2-7 Wednesday night in Boston, but they again gave up an obscene amount of points. 

Washington fell 140-133, marking the fifth time in the first nine games in which they've given up more than 120 points. They've held an opposing offense under 100 twice. 

After the loss, Scott Brooks said the team's defensive issues started with the scouting report. Players weren't familiar enough with the Celtics' tendencies so when Washington needed a stop, they couldn't get one. 

Rookie forward Rui Hachimura put it a bit more bluntly. 

“From the beginning of the season, our defense has been no good," he said. 

With Hachimura, Bradley Beal and Isaiah Thomas, the Wizards shouldn't have any issue scoring this season. They have the sixth-ranked offense in the NBA, but the fact that they still have a -4.4 net rating is telling to how bad they've been on the other end.

The Wizards are in the midst of a rebuilding year. The goals for teams like these are to acquire young talent and hope they develop into foundational pieces. As important as obtaining talent is, building good habits can make or break a young player's development, especially in the age of the one-and-done.

They'll have to commit more to the defensive end if they have any hopes of putting multiple wins together. The question is whether they have the personnel to do it.