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Vitals: Thunder at Wizards

Vitals: Thunder at Wizards Vitals: Thunder at Wizards

Originally Published: Dec 29, 2009 1:31 PM CDT

Dave Carty
Oklahoma Sports Staff Writer

Oklahoma City Thunder (16-14) at Washington Wizards (10-19)
Tuesday, December 29, 2009, 6:00 p.m. CST.
Verizon Center, Washington, DC
Game 31 of 82

Anticipated Starting Lineups

Oklahoma City (Away)
Washington (Home)
Russell Westbrook
16.4 PPG, 6.9 APG
Gilbert Arenas
22.6 PPG, 6.9 APG
Thabo Sefolosha
6.2 PPG, 1.4 Stl
Randy Foye
7.3 PPG, 1.5 APG
Kevin Durant
28.2 PPG, 6.8 RPG
Caron Butler
17.1 PPG, 6.9 RPG
Jeff Green
14.5 PPG, 6.1 RPG
Antawn Jamison
20.6 PPG, 8.5 RPG
CNenad Krstic
8.6 PPG, 5.2 RPG
Brendan Haywood
9.4 PPG, 10.4 RPG

Oklahoma City: G/F, Kyle Weaver (shoulder, out); G, Kevin Ollie (knee, day-to-day); C, Etan Thomas (flu-like symptoms, out).
Washington: G, Javaris Crittenton (foot, out); G, Mike James (hand, out); F, Mike Miller (calf, day-to-day).

Where to find it?
On TV: Fox Sports Oklahoma
On Radio: Thunder Radio Network

What you need to know?
Oklahoma City’s best offensive effort this season was also Washington’s worst defensive effort. On November 20, the Thunder crushed the Wizards, scoring a season-best 127 points. Kevin Durant (35 points), Russell Westbrook (26) and James Harden (25) lit up the score sheet and embarrassed the traveling Wizards. At home, the Wizards are a slightly better team, but injuries and roster juggling have hampered Washington. The once-proud offensive team has slipped and coach Flip Saunders can’t be happy with his team’s lackluster start in his first season with the franchise.

The Thunder has bounced back after facing a difficult stretch of the season. It Oklahoma City’s last two games, its opponents have scored 91 points or fewer. The last time that happened was back at season’s dawn, when the Thunder allowed less than 90 points against the Sacramento Kings, Detroit Pistons and Portland Trail Blazers to open the 2009-10 year. The Thunder has been prone to let downs on the second installment of back-to-back games, but the Wizards also played last night on the road – a 116-111 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. The Thunder should have the upper-hand against the weaker and more deflated team.

Who to watch?
Hoping to stay injury-free for the first time since the 2006-07 season, Gilbert Arenas has regained form and is reminding people why he was once considered one of the league’s premier point guards. December has been his strongest month, averaging 25.3 points per contest and 7.5 assists. When he’s off the court, 5’5” guard Earl Boykins is a wonder to watch. If varsity or JV basketball seemed hard to you as a kid, Boykins might provide some new perspective.

Speaking of being hot in December, Durant might be having his best month as a professional basketball player. This month, he’s averaging 29.2 points per game and his field goal, 3-point and free throw shooting percentages have risen since early in the season. In the last four games, Durant has scored 30-plus points. The Thunder won three of those games.
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