The Warriors have had issues finishing close games all season long. They failed to do so again Friday in a 110-107 loss to the Washington Wizards at Chase Center.
With the Warriors up three with under 10 seconds left, Bradley Beal hit a fadeaway corner 3-pointer while drawing a foul on Andrew Wiggins. Beal's four-point play put the Wizards up one with 6.1 seconds left, and Damion Lee's turnover with 1.2 seconds remaining ensured that was that.
The Warriors (24-28) started slowly against the Wizards (19-32), settling for sloppy jumpers or turning the ball with lazy passes instead of attacking the basket and Washington's defense.
Once the Warriors changed their offensive approach, the game shifted.
As Golden State started to play more physically, the Warriors worked their way into the game.
Steph Curry moved one step closer toward becoming the franchise's all-time leading scorer by putting up 32 points.
The Warriors had done a good job of putting their bad habit of fouling aside, until Beal's four-point play. And that's the play that mattered most.
Here are three takeaways from Golden State's loss on the first night of a back-to-back.
Warriors get some, but not enough, bench production
It's starting to sound like a broken record, but, here it is again: The Warriors have to get more production from their bench.
After heading into the fourth quarter with only six bench points, all courtesy of Damion Lee, the Warriors' bench finally showed up. The second unit opened the fourth quarter with six straight points, forcing the Wizards to call a timeout. The reserves did exactly what they should do: Battle back and hang in the game until Curry and Draymond Green check back in. The group exceeded expectations, outscoring the Wizards' bench 16-6 and handing Golden State's starters a four-point lead.
That's all the Warriors need their bench to do.
Time and time again the second unit has failed to do so, so pulling it off Friday was an encouraging.
However, the bench needs to get involved earlier on. Heading into the final frame, the Wizards bench had 23 points to the Warriors' six. Golden State won't always be able to erase deficits, as we've seen all season.
The Warriors won't have the luxury of depending on Curry to bail them out in every potential play-in game or playoff series, especially if Kerr is committed to not extending Curry's minutes.
Two-way Wiggs lives up to his name
Andrew Wiggins has been synonymous with consistency all season. He probably has been the Warriors' most steady player.
Against the Wizards, he did it again. His 15 points weren't quite eye-catching, but he scored in double figures yet again -- as he has in all but one game this season -- on 7-of-13 shooting, while playing incredibly strong defense on Bradley Beal. That is, until that final foul.
Beal entered Friday's game averaging 31.2 points per game -- the most in the league. He finished with 20 points against the Warriors, but he shot just 4-of-12 up until the 3:30 mark of the fourth quarter. Mostly because of Wiggins.
If not for the final defensive possession of the game, we'd be focusing on Wiggins' strong night.
James Wiseman has second straight strong game
On the opposite side of the spectrum from Wiggins, aka Mr. Consistency, is James Wiseman.
Yet in the Warriors' last two games, the rookie has strung together two strong performances, a welcome sign of his development and growth.
Wiseman finished with 18 points on 9-of-11 shooting Friday, adding six rebounds.
Perhaps the game is coming to Wiseman more easily because Kerr is calling more plays that play to the 20-year-old's strengths. But things seem to be slowing down for Wiseman, too, and he is able to rely on his instincts more than before.
Whatever it is, this is what the Warriors need to from Wiseman. If he plays like this, it'll do wonders for his future, Golden State's and, even, the Warriors' present.