Thunder Facing Big Time Challenge From Wizards

By Randy Renner

A year from this coming July the Thunder may very well face a stout challenge from the management of the Washington Wizards in the battle to sign 2016 free agent Kevin Durant. 

But that boardroom battle can wait till then, tonight it's all about what happens on the court and that will likely be plenty tough enough. 

It wasn't that long ago the Wizards were scuffling around as one of the worst teams in the NBA, those days are gone. 

Washington comes in with a 22-9 record and in second place in the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference. All-Star point guard John Wall is having another All-star type season, averaging 17.4 pojnts and 10.3 assists per game.  

But Wall and the Wizards stumbled badly Tuesday night in Dallas, losing 114-87, Wall finishing with just 11 points. 

Washington has also committed 44 turnovers in the last two games. 

But after a couple of days of practice here in OKC you'd think the Wizards have been able to solve some of those problems. 

It should be a fun night with that great head-to-head matchup between Wall and Thunder All-Star Russell Westbrook who is back tonight after being ejected in the closing seconds of Wednesday's game with Phoenix after oicking up his second technical foul. 

"Russell is always up for the challenge but not because he's going against John Wall," said Thunder head coach Scott Brooks. "Just because it's a game." 

And it's game Westbrook would love to be able to play into the second half. 

"Yeah we have to do a better job of controlling our emotions," Brooks said, "not just Russell but all of us." 

The Wizards have never beaten the Thunder in Oklahoma City (0-5) but the last time these teams met, last season in D.C. The Wizards won 96-81 with Wall scoring 17 points and handing out 15 assists. 

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