Oklahoma City Thunder vs Washington Wizards 1/11/22: Starting Lineups, Matchup Preview, Betting Odds, Live Stream
Oklahoma City Thunder vs Washington Wizards Matchup Preview (1/11/22)
The floundering Oklahoma City Thunder (13-26) visit the Washington Wizards (20-20) Tuesday night. The Thunder have lost their previous four games, although they fought hard against the Nuggets last game in a 99-95 loss. Coming into the season, the Thunder had low expectations and were already looking towards the lottery balls. In the next five NBA drafts, they have potentially 19 first-round picks. The Thunder, led by Luguentz Dort, are decent at defense and own the 14th best Defensive Rating (108.6). Their offense, however, has been atrocious and kept them from winning games. They are dead last in Offensive Rating (100.8), FG% (41.3%), and 3PT% (30.8%). Shooting problems are not a new ailment for the Thunder; they have struggled with outside shooting since even the Kevin Durant days. Against the Wizards, Kenrich Williams, or “Kenny Hustle” as he is known, is expected to be out due to COVID protocols. With Williams out, Aleksej Pokusevski may see more playing time for the bench unit.
The Wizards shocked the NBA world and started off the season 10-3. They were clicking as a team and beat the Grizzlies, Bucks, and Cavaliers. Recently, the Wizards have come down to earth and played as expected. Their .500 record agrees with the perception of the Wizards before the season: an average team that would be fighting for a playoff spot. The Wizards have beaten the bottom-dwellers, but their record against top Eastern Conference competition does not bode well for their playoff chances. They are a combined 2-6 against the Bulls, Nets, Bucks, Heat, and 76ers. Since the Wizards have more useful role players, Bradley Beal’s shots have decreased. After averaging over 30 PPG the last two seasons, Beal is producing 24.0 PPG on a career low 29.8% from three. He shoots 20 FGA per game this year, when he was taking 23 FGA the previous two seasons. Beal is clearly the best player on the roster and will look to break his shooting slump against the Thunder. Thomas Bryant (knee) is still expected to be out, while Montrezl Harrell (COVID) is questionable to play. If Harrell plays, he will be a huge boost against a Thunder team that lacks a defensive big man off the bench.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs Washington Wizards Betting Odds
In their previous matchup, the Wizards won a close game 101-99. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was the difference in that game with a statline of 20 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists on 8/13 from the field and 4/7 from three. I am going with the Wizards moneyline because they are a more experienced, complete team. The game will be closer than expected and should have a final score similar to the first encounter. For the spread, I would not bet any more than -4.5 Wizards since I expect the Thunder to hold their own. The combined point total will not reach higher than 220 since the Thunder routinely struggle to score. Their defense will slow down the Wizards attack and hold them to less than 110 points. Overall, look for the game to be sloppy and not an offensive display.
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Time: 7:00 PM ET
Arena: Capital One Arena – Washington, DC
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Oklahoma City Thunder Starting Lineup
Oklahoma City Thunder Analysis
Development has been the focus for the Thunder this season, especially for 6th overall pick Josh Giddey. His statline – 11.1 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 6.4 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.5 BPG – is impressive for a rookie and shows his potential as a triple double threat. He is only 19 years old, but he has the style of a crafty veteran. His shooting and offensive arsenal need to be improved in order to open up the court. His exceptional vision and awareness will be even deadlier with a consistent jump shot off the dribble. Once Giddey adds muscle to his 6’8” frame, finishing at the rim will be an easier task. For now, Giddey is relying on his shot creation and ball handling skills to create for his teammates.
Unfortunately, there is a complete absence of perimeter shooting on the roster. Defenders are sagging off their man towards the paint because of this. The Thunder significantly lead the NBA in drives per game (63.9), and because of their roster makeup, players are driving into a packed paint. With a treasure chest of future picks, the Thunder should trade a few assets in the offseason to acquire shooters such as Luke Kennard (44.1 3PT%), Cedi Osman (40.0 3PT%), or Otto Porter Jr (38.9 3PT%). The depth chart has capable ball handlers, but the lack of shooting is suffocating the offense.
Washington Wizards Starting Lineup
Washington Wizards Analysis
New additions Spencer Dinwiddie, Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope have brought incredible depth to the Wizards. Dinwiddie is a natural scorer who can handle the ball when Beal spots up and plays off the ball. His 13.1 PPG and 5.6 APG allow the Wizards to trot out a starting lineup with a dual threat at guard. Dinwiddie and Beal both have the capability to score, shoot, and create. Although he is not as good as former Wizards John Wall and Russell Westbrook, Dinwiddie is on a much cheaper contract and provides financial flexibility. Kuzma is coming off a 27 point, 22 rebound performance against the struggling Orlando Magic. He is averaging a career high in rebounds (8.7 RPG) and assists (2.8 APG) while chipping in 15.3 PPG. Kuzma is not a great defender, but he has the size and athleticism to play above his defensive instincts. He can play at both forward positions and provides lineup flexibility.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope gives the Wizards a solid 3&D option and championship experience. He is shooting 38.8% from three and swiping 1.2 SPG. Although he is not the most consistent offensive player, Caldwell-Pope can explode for 25 points and 5 threes on any given night. Finally, Montrezl Harrell is a 6MOY winner who provides energy and toughness at the backup center position. He is averaging a career high 7.3 RPG and scoring 14.5 PPG on an incredible 64.5 FG%. He does not have a deep offensive skill set, but he is efficient at what he does and plays his role to perfection.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs Washington Wizards Daily Fantasy Picks
For this matchup, I like Josh Giddey and Kyle Kuzma to produce at a high level. Giddey is a triple double threat that can blow past guards off the dribble. Dinwiddie and Beal are average defenders at best, but Gafford is an underrated rim protector (1.8 BPG in 22.9 MPG). I expect Giddey to rack up assists in this matchup and get a double double with about 7 rebounds. For the Wizards, look for Kuzma to continue his recent play. While it is extremely unlikely he gets another 20/20 game, a 20/10 game is within his grasp. The strength of the Thunder defense is stopping pick and roll ball handlers on the perimeter. Rookie Jeremiah Robinson-Earl competes hard on defense, but he does not have enough defensive knowledge at this stage of his career. Favors is a solid defender, but he is not agile enough to leave the rim and guard Kuzma away from the basket. Kuzma has the opportunity to launch shots and create for himself without a superb defender slowing him down.