OKC Thunder face a must-win game on the East Coast

The Oklahoma City Thunder are on a two-game losing streak on the East Coast, and heading into Washington, they face a must-win game.
Jan 5, 2024; Brooklyn, New York, USA;  Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) and
Jan 5, 2024; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) and / Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The Oklahoma City Thunder have dropped two straight games to open up their East Coast trip. This has been a disappointing start to January after December's thrilling 10-3 slate and a January 2nd win against the Boston Celtics.

While the entire NBA landscape praised the Thunder, the team began sleepwalking through their contests against the Hawks and the Nets, which saw the Bricktown boys get down by as many as 30 points before late rallies made the final scores more respectable.

Those two losses are understandable. Oklahoma City did not land in Atlanta until 4:14 that morning after their travel was delayed following the big win against Boston. To not have your best effort on the second leg of a back-to-back with travel issues is why the NBA has the term "schedule loss."

To follow up that effort with a sleepy night in Brooklyn was disappointing for Thunder fans, who then began to wonder if the sky was falling. Though, some nights in the course of an 82-game season, "you just do not have it."

OKC Thunder faces a must-win against the Washington Wizards on the heels of two disappointing road tilts.

While it is normal to go through a rough patch in the course of a season, if the Oklahoma City Thunder are who everyone thinks they are, they will take care of the Wizards in Washington.

The Washington Wizards sit just 6-29, 2-8 in their last ten games and a lowly 3-12 home record. In the midst of a four-game losing streak, good teams, like the Oklahoma City Thunder, keep losing teams losing.

As Mark Daigneault, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Cason Wallace all discuss the Thunder's "uncommon maturity", this is a fantastic game to show it.

The Thunder can not afford to play down to their competition or start slow, leaning on a late rally; if they want to continue to be uncommon and earn contender-status praise, after two days off, they will head into Washington and dominate.

It will be up to Oklahoma City's big three. The Wizards, like most NBA teams, have no one that should slow down the MVP-caliber Shai Gilgeous-Alexander or dueling All-Star talents in Jalen Williams and Chet Holmgren.

While in the grand scheme of things, this is just one game of 82, in the early stages of January, this is as close to a must-win game as you can face for OKC.

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