NBA Gameday: Durant returns home, Curry vs Wall as good as it gets

NBA Gameday: Durant returns home, Curry vs Wall as good as it gets

Programming note: Warriors-Wizards coverage starts today at 3pm with Warriors Pregame Live on CSN Bay Area, and streaming live right here.

When the Warriors last visited the nation’s capital, they also stopped at the White House to celebrate their 2015 NBA championship with President Barack Obama.

When they get to Washington on Tuesday, it’ll be strictly business, a game against the rampaging Wizards at Verizon Center.

The Warriors (50-9) are making their second stop in a stretch in which they will play eight games in 13 days, across four different time zones.

Since starting the season 2-8 under new coach Scott Brooks, the Wizards (34-23) have gone 32-15 to climb into top-four playoff position. They are 21-7 since Christmas Day. Their 24-8 home record is fourth best in the NBA.


Warriors by 6.5


Stephen Curry vs. John Wall: Two of the truly elite point guards in the NBA and these All-Stars waged a spectacular shootout last season in D.C., with Curry outscoring Wall 51-41. The Warriors can better survive an off night from Curry than the Wizards can from Wall. Klay Thompson also will make a few runs at Wall.


Warriors: No injuries listed. C Damian Jones is on assignment with Santa Cruz of the NBA Development League.

Wizards: No injuries listed.


Warriors: 8-2. Wizards: 7-3.


Sweeping the two-game series in each of the past two seasons, the Warriors have won four in a row and 10 of the last 11. They’ve won six straight in Washington, with the last loss coming on April 6, 2010.


THE RETURN OF KD: Kevin Durant grew up in the D.C. area, giving the Wizards and their fans hope that upon gaining free agency he might come home. Though Durant still voices his love for the Beltway -- he has a Maryland tattoo -- he never seriously considered returning. He’ll have dozens of family and friends in the building, and it will be interesting to see how he handles it. He has been superb in spotlight games.

THE OTHER GUARDS: While most of the focus is directed at the Curry-Wall matchup, shooting guards Klay Thompson and Bradley Beal deserve their share of recognition. Thompson is widely considered the league’s No. 1 two-way shooting guard. Beal, coming into his own, is averaging 22.6 points to Thompson’s 22.0.

BEYOND THE ARC: The Warriors rank third in 3-point shooting percentage, the Wizards fifth. Washington s mall forward Otto Porter’s 45.8-percent mark leads the league. The Warriors, however, generally shoot more threes. They might have to take more shots, and make more, to hold off the home team.

Cook gives injured Warriors 'huge boost' in anomalous loss


Cook gives injured Warriors 'huge boost' in anomalous loss

OAKLAND -- If Quinn Cook plays at anything close to the level he performed Friday night against the Kings, the Warriors should avoid any catastrophic stumbling in the absence of their top three scorers.

They stumbled plenty in a 98-93 loss to Sacramento, but not because of Cook. The two-way player who has spent most of the season with G-League Santa Cruz scored a team-high 25 points, shot 10-of-13 from the field and played respectable defense.

He did more than could have been reasonably expected.

“I felt like this was coming,” coach Steve Kerr said. “He was fantastic. He really lit it up and gave us a huge boost.”

The Warriors ran into problems elsewhere, shared among the usually reliable veterans who need to be particularly reliable in the absence of Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson.

Usual starters Draymond Green and Zaza Pachulia combined to shoot 6-of-20.

Usual reserves Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, David West and Nick Young shot a collective 13-of-39.

In the second half, when Warriors mustered only 34 points -- a season-low for any half -- the six vets combined to take 32 shots and missed 24.

Those are atrocious numbers and they explain what went wrong in a game that was there for the taking.

They’re also an anomaly.

“We just couldn’t get anything going,” Green said. “But we got some good shots. We got ‘Dre on a couple of pull-ups in the lane, I got a couple open shots, Nick got a couple open shots, Zaza got a couple open ones. D-West had one pop in and out. (Kevon Looney) had two pop in and out.

“We just got cold. But hopefully those shots will fall tomorrow.”

West, returning after missing four games with a cyst on his right arm, was 1-of-6 from the field. He came into this game as a 60.8-percent shooter this season.

Igoudala was 4-of-10; he shot 70 percent over the previous 10 games. Young was 5-of-15, well below his 44-percent shooting this season. Livingston’s 3-of-8 shooting is uncharacteristic of someone shooting at least 50 percent for four years running.

If history is any indication, Green (5-of-14) and Pachulia (1-of-6) are not going continue to miss at the rate they did in this game, the first this season in which the Warriors were without all three of their top scorers.

If history is any indication, the Warriors can’t be counted on to score 34 points on 27.3-percent shooting in the second half of a game.

“I loved how our guys battled,” Kerr said. “They really competed well and made some big plays. We just couldn’t get the ball to go down quite enough in the second half.”

That’s going to change, perhaps as soon as Saturday night in Phoenix, were the Suns are playing to lose.

So if Cook plays steady basketball, the Warriors will fall off and their fans won’t become a basket case while waiting for the three shooters. The Warriors surely believe that.

“He really showed up. I’ve been waiting on that Quinn,” Green said. “We needed that. It was great for him to come out and play like that. And most importantly, his shots were falling. Since he’s been playing (more often) he’s been playing well, but his shots weren’t really falling. But tonight, they fell for him.”

They won’t always fall at a rate of 77 percent. They won’t have to once his teammates drop in a few more of their own shots.

Casspi rolls ankle, leaves game vs Kings


Casspi rolls ankle, leaves game vs Kings

OAKLAND -- Omri Casspi sustained a sprained right ankle with 9:00 left in the second quarter of the Warriors-Kings game Friday night and did not return.

After dropping in a short hook shot with 9:04 left in the quarter, Casspi landed awkwardly, rolling his ankle and dropping to the floor clutching his lower leg. Down for a couple minutes, he eventually got up and limped into the locker room, accompanied by physical performance specialist Chelsea Lane.

Casspi played six minutes off the bench, producing 6 points, one assist and one rebound against his former team.

He joins Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Pat McCaw and Klay Thompson on the sideline.