Golden State 112, Washington 96, Game 31 of 82 (Wizards 14-17)
Sunday night, Washington took the court attempting to break a two-game losing streak. After a frustrating home loss to Toronto Friday night, the Wizards wanted to get a win against their guests from the Bay Area. The Golden State Warriors were in town, on their fifth road game of a seven-game road trip, having won the four previous road games, before arriving at Verizon Center.
The Wizards played Golden State even in the first half. However, a 30-5 run to start the third quarter put the Warriors up for good, as they finished a convincing win over Washington. The victory was the ninth straight for Golden State (23-13).
The game started with the Warriors’ usual quick passing/quick shooting offense on center stage. The good news was the Wizards’ ability to match Golden State basket for basket. Despite Klay Thompson’s 10 first quarter points for Golden State, Bradley Beal’s nine for Washington kept the home team in the game. The Wizards scored the last seven points of the period: Martell Webster’s layup, Garrett Temple’s pair of free throws, and Chris Singleton’s three-pointer moments before the buzzer. Washington led 36-28 at the end of the first quarter, mostly by shooting 66.7% from the floor.
As the second quarter commenced, Washington stretched the lead to ten points – 40-30 – on Temple’s layup. Marreese Speights scored a fast five points for Golden State to snap them out of their drought. Andre Igoudala added seven in the period to aid the Warriors as well. His layup with 2:02 left in the half knotted the score at 52. Two free throws each from Trevor Ariza and John Wall kept Washington close, and the half ended tied at 58. Thompson had 16 for the Warriors at the half, including making four of his six three-point attempts. Wall had 11 points and 6 assists for the Wizards. Marcin Gortat added 10 points and five rebounds in the half.
Alas, just like Friday night against Toronto, the third quarter was Washington’s downfall. That 30-5 run took 9-plus minutes, staking the Warriors out to an 88-63 lead with 2:56 left in the quarter. There was Stephen Curry’s off-the-backboard bass resulting in an Andrew Bogut dunk. There was David Lee working his inside/outside game (12 points in the quarter, 21 points for the game). Washington went 6-for-21 from the field in the quarter (28.6%). As the quarter came to a close, one could hear the home fans express their displeasure with a chorus of boos.
In the fourth quarter, Jan Vesely and his fellow substitutes tried to inject some energy into Washington’s effort. Vesely blocked consecutive shots from Draymond Green and Speights to ignite a fast-break opportunity. Vesely, showing some verve, sprinted to the other end after the second block to receive a nice pass from Garrett Temple for a dunk. That play seemed to stir up the fans and the home team for a bit. Nene followed with four quick points to shrink the deficit to 92-81 with 9:24 left in regulation. Wizards’ fans started to stir, but the Warriors went on a quick 9-2 run to push the lead out to 101-83 with 6:35 left. Soon after, substitutes took the floor and played out the remaining time.
Washington shot 43% from the field, and accumulated 42 rebounds, 23 assists on 37 baskets, 8 steals, 13 turnovers and 5 blocked shots. Wall and Nene led the team with 14
points each. Wall added 10 assists and three steals.
Golden State shot 50.6% from the floor, and totaled 45 rebounds, 24 assists on 43 baskets, 8 steals, 12 turnovers and 7 blocked shots. Thompson led the Warriors with 26 points (including 6-of-9 from three-point range). Lee added 21 points and 11 rebounds. Bogut added 15 points and 11 rebounds. Stephen Curry struggled through a 5-of-17 performance from the field, but still ended with 14 points and 10 assists.
It seems like déjà vu, but Washington has to also put this outing behind them quickly. The team heads out to zig-zag a three-game road trip – to Charlotte (Tuesday, 7 January), New Orleans (Wednesday, 8 January), then Indiana (Friday, 10 January). No point in lamenting missed opportunities from the home stand. Now, the team has to rally to pick up some much-needed road wins. Charlotte has Al Jefferson, Kemba Walker and Cedric Henderson, competitive guys who lead an improved Bobcats’ team. Oh, by the way, Charlotte is one game behind Washington in the Southeast Division, winning their last outing, a ten-point win at Sacramento.
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