The Golden State Warriors did not play their best basketball on Tuesday night at Oracle Arena, but as Stephen Curry and Co. have done all season, they were good when they needed to be. Washington, led by Bradley Beal’s 17 points, played the home team tight through the game’s first three quarters, but the Dubs rattled off a decisive 16-to-4 run in the final frame to thwart the Wizards’ upset bid. With the victory, Golden State captured win number 67 of the season and now head off to Utah for the second game of a back-to-back.
1) Plagued by silly turnovers, poor defense, and unnecessary reach-in fouls for and-1 scores, the Warriors found themselves down nine points with 2:25 remaining in the second quarter. What followed next, and what fans have witnessed all season, was an all out scoring blitz by the Warriors who went on a 12-to-nothing run to end the first half. During that stretch, Steph reeled off eight of his game-high 26 points with a couple of his usual “How did he even get that off?!” 3-pointers. Those brief strikes are the biggest fear of any Warriors opponent. The question isn’t when the offensive explosion is coming, but rather, how long will it last, and will the game still be in reach after it’s gone.
2) Klay Thompson (16 points) understands he’s not the fastest guy. When he has a bigger player on him at the arc, he relies more on guile than speed to get a bucket in the paint. His hesitation floater on Markieff Morris in the first quarter was a thing of beauty.
3) Underrated: Steph’s ability to front big men in the post when he gets caught in switches. He gets super low, cutting into the big fella’s legs to prevent jumps, and is often able to kill the angle for an entry pass, and sometimes, like in this game, he gets a steal.
4) I’m in the same camp as Andrew Bogut: Harrison Barnes is going to get near max money this summer. Despite the recent shooting slump, HB is a versatile defender at a premium position and he never complains about his (lack of) touches on offense. And if he can consistently drop 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting while grabbing nine boards and defending giants in the paint, he might just get the full max.
5) As the always fantastic Kirk Goldsberry wrote, John Wall (11 assists) is the master at creating corner threes for his teammates. On one transition play in the first, Wall drove head down into the paint for the sole purpose of drawing two Warrior defenders with him. What followed next was a quick left-handed sling of the ball to an open Jared Dudley in the right corner. The guy’s basketball IQ is off the charts.
6) Like Klay, Draymond has been on fire from downtown of late. Dray is 8 of 12 in his last three contests and even canned a buzzer-beating three from 25 feet in the third. The do-all forward is hitting triples at 38% for the season.
8) Wall got caught admiring his shot instead of running back to prevent an HB dunk. Nene was in no man’s land twice on the pick and roll, allowing two easy scores. Every NBA player has lapses on defense, but that can’t happen if you want to beat the Warriors in Oracle.
9) After getting beat off the dribble by Steph, Morris reached out to commit the smartest foul of the season. Kief wasn’t about to get Vine’d by the MVP.
10) Kerr again went with the starters late into the game despite a big lead. Seems like the coach doesn’t trust the bench unit without Iguodala out there to take care of the ball. We’ll see whether a few extra minutes will affect the Dubs, who are about to tip off again in 24 hours at elevation.