After Kevin Durant left early with a hyperextended knee, the Warriors took a perceptible emotional dip that the Washington Wizards exploited in building a 19-point first-half lead.
It barely was enough, as the Warriors regrouped at halftime and rallied in the third quarter Tuesday night but came up just short, taking a 112-108 loss at Verizon Center in Washington.
Stephen Curry led the Warriors with 25 points. Klay Thompson put in 16 points, Draymond Green and Shaun Livingston each totaled 14 points and Zaza Pachulia added 12.
Durant, making his first appearance as a Warrior in his hometown, played one scoreless minute before leaving the game.
The Warriors (50-10) again struggled from beyond the arc, going 8-of-27 (29.6 percent) after a 6-of-29 shooting night Monday in Philadelphia.
The Wizards (35-23) finished with six players in double figures, led by 25 from shooting guard Bradley Beal.
Someone needed to step out of the shadows and Livingston did. Someone needed to orchestrate a patchwork offense and Green did.
Livingston’s line: 14 points (5-of-7 shooting, 4-of-4 from the line), three rebounds, two blocks, two assists and one steal. He played 24 minutes and finished plus-four.
Green’s line: 14 points (6-of-11, 2-of-3 from deep), a team-high 14 assists, eight rebounds, two steals and one block. He played 40 minutes and finished at even-0.
Though the Warriors battled back and led by as much as three, the course of this game changed when Durant went down in the first minute.
The Wizards took less than four minutes to go up 16-4 and were up 39-20 with 2:20 left in the first quarter. They led for most of the night after that, and pulled it out by outscoring the Warriors 6-2 in the final minute.
Warriors: No injuries were listed. F Kevin Durant sustained a hyperextended L knee in the opening minute and did not return. C Damian Jones is on assignment with Santa Cruz of the NBA Development League.
Wizards: No injuries listed.
The Warriors return to action Thursday, when they face the Bulls at United Center in Chicago. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:05 p.m. Pacific.