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…
WASHINGTON WIZARDS vs. OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER
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...
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:
John Wall ties Rod Strickland for most consecutive 20pt/10 ast games in team history (5) #Wizards— David Devall (@McNubian) February 11, 2017
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.
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.