Game Tonight: OKC Thunder vs Wizards Odds, Starting Lineup, Injury Report, Predictions, for Nov. 16th

Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) celebrates after scoring a basket against the OKC Thunder: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) celebrates after scoring a basket against the OKC Thunder: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports /
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OKC Thunder
OKC Thunder forward Luguentz Dort (5) dribbles as Wizards forward Corey Kispert (24) defends: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /

OKC Thunder vs. Wizards Stats Comparison – Prediction

Thunder Nation is fully aware of how hot the team has been of late but another team who’s also been excelling is the Wizards.

While OKC has been exploding offensively, the Wizards have achieved their uptick on the defensive end. However, I’d caution just how much we read into their success.

Details matter and while the four teams the Wiz have beaten on their current streak look impressive at first glance, in truth, it’s a bit of fool’s gold.

Case in point…

  • The Hornets aren’t a surprise especially because both LaMelo Ball and Gordon Hayward were out against the Wiz.
  • Dallas looks good on paper but they were playing the second game of a back-to-back set and this match plus the prior contest (Magic) hinted at Luka Doncic’s fatigue as he shot a combined 17 of 50 from the field and 5 of 19 from deep. And notably – he shot BETTER vs. Washington despite it being the second game.
  • The Jazz win is only impressive if we focus on their starting record because their hot start has every team taking them more seriously now – and it might explain their current three-game losing streak.
  • Finally, the Grizzlies’ win looks the most impressive until you dive deeper to recognize Memphis was missing Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, and Jaren Jackson Jr.

While the Thunder were feasting in the paint and putting up an average of 132.7 points over the last four matches the Wizards were functioning on the opposite end of the spectrum holding their last four opponents to 102.5 points per game.

As I outlined above there were extenuating circumstances. And granted the same caveats could be thrown out about the Bucks and Raptors being shorthanded versus the Thunder.

But there is a difference. Defense is predominantly based on I.Q., energy, and effort.

For example, the Nets in my humble opinion are a brutal defensive team (as the Kings just reminded everyone). Yet, they were suddenly tracking as the best defensive squad through the past five or six games (before Tuesday’s rout).

Why? Not because they have top-notch schemes or defenders — rather because their new head coach had them bought into playing as a team with energy and outworking their opponent.

Sure defense can be tweaked to be elite but the Thunder have demonstrated even in their tanking years if you give energy – you have an opportunity to win.

Offense (again in my humble opinion) isn’t as easily manipulated. While I.Q. is still involved, energy doesn’t impact it to the same degree. You can’t simply try harder to score a 3-pointer. You need the proper form, skill, and athleticism.

Ditto for the drives and cuts to the basket. Shai isn’t putting up 30 points regularly simply because he’s willing to attack the basket – he has a unique ability to change his direction, pace, and a variety of moves to score with once in the paint.

I’m not trying to get myself in hot water here – BOTH sides of the floor require high I.Q, skill, athleticism, etc to be elite. All I’m pointing out is it’s easier to manipulate defense for the entire team to excel via energy and effort.