WASHINGTON – The Oklahoma City Thunder have the NBA's leading scorer in Kevin Durant and lead the Northwest Division.
They finally got to see another piece Monday for what they hope will be a deep playoff run.
Durant scored 32 points in a 116-89 blowout win over the Washington Wizards, but of more interest to Oklahoma City was the Thunder debut of center Kendrick Perkins, who started in his first action since a deadline trade from the Boston Celtics.
Perkins had six points and nine rebounds in 20 minutes of play, and said his conditioning was fine after missing nine games with a sprained left knee.
"I felt good," he said. "A little rusty in some spots, but it felt good to be out there contributing in a positive way."
Perkins got to ease into his new role in a game the Thunder dominated from the opening minutes.
Oklahoma City scored the game's first eight points and held a double-digit lead with nearly five minutes left in the first quarter. The lead grew to 68-47 at halftime, equaling the Thunder's largest point total for any half this season.
"I think it kind of sucks the energy out of the building once you start out like that," Durant said.
It was the 25th time this season that Durant, the NBA scoring leader, scored at least 30 points. He scored 40 in the previous meeting between the two teams on Jan. 28.
Russell Westbrook had 18 points and 12 assists, and Daequan Cook had 18 points on 6 for 9 3-point shooting for Oklahoma City. The Thunder have now won four straight and six of seven, as well as the last five meetings against Washington. They are 23-4 this season against teams with sub-.500 records.
Oklahoma City had no trouble scoring from anywhere on the court against Washington, shooting 48.8 percent from the field and making 12 of 21 3-pointers. The team even made its first 19 free throws, finishing 20 of 21 from the line.
Durant and Westbrook put an exclamation on the rout during a fast break with 8½ minutes left in the third quarter. With John Wall defending, Westbrook threw up an alley-oop pass and Wall could only watch helplessly as Durant leapt high above the rim to slam it down one-handed in front of the Wizards' bench.
"That felt good, man. Russell made an unbelievable play and I just tried to do my best to finish," Durant said.
That dunk gave Oklahoma City a 77-54 lead and the Thunder led by as many as 31 points as they cruised to the finish.
It was the fourth straight loss for Washington, which has lost four in a row, and 20 of the last 23 games. The Wizards have been outscored by a total of 67 points in their last three games, all at home.
"I know it's tough to look at for a lot of people," Washington coach Flip Saunders said. "It's tough to coach. Growing pains are extremely difficult. You knew that there would be nights like this, you just hoped there wouldn't be as many nights."
Trevor Booker had 14 points and a career-high 13 rebounds, Wall had 14 points, seven rebounds and five assists, and JaVale McGee also scored 14 points for the Wizards.
"It doesn't matter that we know people are hurt and it's a rebuilding process, you still shouldn't not have no heart, not fight, not compete, not be into games," Wall said. "There's no sense in not playing hard and not competing — and teams are coming in here and putting on a show and our crowd is cheering for them."
As down as the Wizards were after another disappointing loss, Perkins and the Thunder were equally happy about the way their team is playing heading into the season's final stretch.
"It felt good," Perkins said. "One thing we're going to keep striving on is doing it together. As long as we do it together we'll be all right. We have a lot of talented guys. I think as long as those guys come in focused, the sky's the limit for this team."
Notes: The Wizards missed their first four shots. Only one even hit the rim. Oklahoma City scored on its first four possessions. ... Saunders and Wall were each given technical fouls in the first half for arguing two separate plays which they thought should have been goaltending calls against the Thunder. ... Oklahoma City G James Harden scored 16 points, his career-high 14th straight game in double figures. ... Durant, who grew up in the Washington area, confessed he had no idea how many friends and family came to the Verizon Center to watch him play. "I let my mom handle all the tickets," he said. ... Wizards F Josh Howard left the game at halftime with a sore left knee. Saunders said he would not play in the team's game at Chicago Tuesday.