The streak is over for the Oklahoma City Thunder, who lost for the first time in 11 games and were held to 25 points below their season average, as the Wizards made it back to .500 yet again at Verizon Center with a 96-81 win on Saturday night. It was the second sellout of the season with 20,356 in attendance.
In his first game since being selected as an All-Star for the first time in his career, John Wall didn't begin well. He shot 0-for-7 and missed an uncontested layup at the buzzer before halftime, but he was the key to a well-oiled machine in second half. He went 7-for-11 after that to help the Wizards (23-23) with 17 points, 15 assists, six steals and only two turnovers. Nene had 17 points and five rebounds, Trevor Ariza 18 points and six rebounds, Marcin Gortat 14 points and a game-high 14 rebounds and Martell Webster 10 points.
Just as important, Ariza's defense helped slow down Kevin Durant. The Thunder (38-11) only scored 13 points in the first quarter as Durant missed 5 of 7 shots. He finished with a game-high 26 points, but only shot 8-for-21. Durant missed all six of his three-point attempts, point guard Reggie Jackson had a game-high eight turnovers and the Thunder shot 4-for-24 overall from three.
These teams split the season series 1-1. The Thunder came back to beat the Wizards 106-105 in overtime on Nov. 10 on their home floor.
Turning point: Derek Fisher cut what had been a nine-point deficit to 58-57 with a three-pointer at 4:21 of the third quarter. Then Washington went on a 20-7 run with Gortat, Wall and Ariza scoring six points each for a 78-64 lead going into the fourth. Wall also had four assists in that span.
Key stat: The Wizards only had 11 turnovers -- just four game in the second half -- compared with 21 overall by the Thunder. It resulted in the Wizards having a 23-10 edge in points off of turnovers.
Minutes bump: Bradley Beal told CSN Washington early in the day that his 30-minute time restriction was being lifted after he had an MRI on his lower right leg Friday. Beal didn't shoot well, 3 of 12 for seven points, but he played his most minutes (34) since Nov. 23 when was diagnosed with a stress reaction for the second time in eight months in the same bone.
Family affair: Durant, who is from D.C., requested and was given 95 tickets and 300 guest passes for family and friends.
From the locker room:
"We won it defensively. It was the prettiest game offensively for us at times. Just when we had the tendency to hold on to the ball, not move bodies, and not move the ball, we struggle a little bit. ... Whenever Durant was on the floor, Trevor was on the floor so he busted his tail tonight. Really great effort. There wasn't any let up in his intensity in that job that he had to do tonight. Marcin really guarded the basket big tonight. Nene, as well as (Trevor) Booker and Kevin (Seraphin). -- Wizards coach Randy Wittman.
"We know (Durant) is going to score. That's something you already know. The focus is to take everyone else out of the game and not let them get multiple scorers in double figures and that is what we did well tonight." -- Ariza
"Whenever he's got the ball in his hands he controls the game. ... He hit some shots in the second half and with an All-Star point guard like that who has the ball in his hand the whole game he should have 15 (assists)." -- Durant on Wall
"They're a playoff team and they're going to finish strong in the East." -- Thunder coach Scott Brooks on the Wizards
Around the bend: The Wizards are off Sunday and shoot around before Monday's game vs. the Portland Trail Blazers (CSN, 7 p.m. ET).