Durant rules D.C. hoops, but not the Wizards

Durant rules D.C. hoops, but not the Wizards
August 26, 2013, 10:45 pm
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Durant, Oladipo show their moves in Goodman League

In the metropolitan area where Elgin Baylor, Adrian Dantley, Len Bias and Grant Hill once reigned supreme on hardwood and asphalt courts, Kevin Durant is the current king of D.C. hoops.

Except recently when the NBA All-Star returns home as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder. In those games, the Wizards have ruled:

January 18, 2012: OKC enters the Verizon Center with an 11-2 record while the Wizards open the season losing 12 of 13. Seems like an obvious result especially with Durant and Russell Westbrook scoring a combined 69 points, right?. As the saying goes, that's why they play the game. John Wall scored 25 points, Nick Young 24, Washington held a 52-43 rebounding advantage and the Thunder committed 21 turnovers in the Wizards 105-102 win. Later that season, Oklahoma City reached the NBA Finals.

January 7, 2013: Once again Durant's squad is dominant with 26 wins in 33 games. With Wall still sidelined with a knee injury (though as it turns out just for one more game), the Wizards were a cellar dwelling 4-28. But Washington's bench received support that night as Trevor Ariza and A.J. Price returned following lengthy injury absences.  Bradley Beal and Martell Webster rained 3's, shooting a combined 9 of 13 from beyond the arc. Meanwhile Durant scored 29, but Westbrook went 4 of 17 from the field and the Thunder missed 16 straight field goals during the second half. In the game's closing seconds, the 19-year-old Beal showed his maturity with a hesitation move and off-balance game-winning jumper that become one the signature plays for all rookies last season.

"It's good. The last two times he came to D.C. we beat him," Wall said Sunday evening before settling in to watch Durant, Victor Oladipo and others at the Goodman League Roundball Classic. "That's exciting even though I didn't play last year."

Following the loss last season, Durant said, "We let them stick around, because we're not taking them serious enough. We can't do that, man. We can't do that."

After the teams meet at Oklahoma City (December 10) less than two weeks into the 2013-14 season, they won't be reunited in D.C. until February 1. Wall expects Durant to come armed with more than just his lethal perimeter game. 

"He'll have a different type of chip on his shoulder," the Wizards point guard said. "But the main thing is when you're going up against those talented teams and talented players you have to play at another level and that's what we did."