Johnson: Wizards drop a double OT thriller

Johnson: Wizards drop a double OT thriller
January 29, 2011, 4:03 am
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Friday January 28, 2011 11:07 p.m.

By Dave Johnson
CSNWashington.comOklahoma City, Oklahoma---In close games all-stars make a difference. Just a day after being voted in as a starter for the NBA All-Star Game, Kevin Durant scored 40 points to help carry the Oklahoma City Thunder past the Wizards 124-117 in double overtime.It was Durant and the Thunders Russell Westbrook who took control late to keep the Wizards winless on the road at 0-22. Westbrook put together a triple-double with 35 points, 13 assists, and 13 rebounds. Durant and Westbrook scored the Thunders final 31 points on a run that started with 2:33 remaining in the fourth quarter.In one of the NBAs most difficult road environments, the Wizards were more than equal to the challenge. Nick Young led the Wizards in scoring with 32 points, Rashard Lewis was steady as always with 22 points and 8 rebounds, and John Wall hit double-double digits in assists again with 10 to go with 13 points.Still it was Trevor Booker that stole the show for the Wizards as he made his second career start. With JaVale McGee sidelined with the flu, Andray Blatche started at center and Booker moved into the power forward role. It was hoped that Booker would be aggressive against Durant and keep Lewis out of foul trouble.While Durant did get his points in the end, Booker helped the Wizards build off an encouraging first half by scoring 9 of his 21 points in the third quarter to give the Wizards a chance. Booker, who also grabbed 12 rebounds, then finished a slam dunk despite being fouled with 5:36 left in the game. With the made free throw the Wizards led 91-89.The Wizards flirted with closing the game out in regulation. Booker followed his dunk and free throw with an eight footjump shot and Young hit two of his classic fadeaway shots from the outside to help the Wizards enjoy a 97-93 cushion with 3:28 on the clock.Durant and Westbrook then showed why they are one of the NBAs most clinical scoring duos. They are tied with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade as the NBA highest scoring duos at 51 points per game. A Durant jumper from just inside the arc that gave the Thunder a 102-99 lead with 1:04 remaining in regulation could have been the knockout blow.After an Andray Blatche layup made it a one-point game at 102-101, the Wizards resolve came through again when Wall was able to swipe the ball away from Westbrook. While the turnover did not lead to a Wizards score it denied the Thunder a possession.With 16.9 seconds left the Wizards were forced to put Duranton the free throw line. Durant only made one of two free throws to increase the Thunders lead to a 103-101. Still alive, the Wizards forced overtime when Young scored from 19-feet to tie the game at 103.In the first overtime Wall, who had zero turnovers, hit a dramatic three-point shot to keep the Wizards within one point 106-105. Wall didnt bank the shot like he did against the Celtics, but the effect was the same.Young scored the final points of the first-overtime when he drilled a fadeaway from 10 feet to tie the game at 110. As time expired in the first overtime Young had a chance to settle things, but missed a contested shot from 18-feet.We did run out of gas and stopped executing and that hurt us, said Young. We stayed with it most of the game. I missed that shot at the end. That would have made my day. I felt like it was good leaving my hand but it just came up short.In the second overtime Wall penetrated deep into the paint and then whipped a pass to a wide open Young who drained a three-point shot to give the Wizards a 115-112 lead. Durant then electrified the home crowd and killed the Wizards spirit with his own 8-0 run to put the Thunder on top 120-115 with 1:47 remaining. The Wizards, with only 8 turnovers through more than four quarters of basketball, put themselves in a position to win but could not answer the Thunders All-Star.We had chances, Wizards head coach Flip Saunders added. We had some mental mistakes in key times. We talked about it before, having a guy that just finish games and that is what Durant did. He finished the game down the end when they needed it.