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'Brilliant', bold and otherworldy Stephen Curry downs Wizards


'Brilliant', bold and otherworldy Stephen Curry downs Wizards

Even for a shooting savant like Stephen Curry, his performance against the Washington Wizards was special. For the Golden State Warriors, Wednesday's 134-121 was just another triumphant night.

Curry blitzed the Wizards from the start, sinking three 3-pointers before five minutes ran of the clock.

"He was just scintillating tonight coming out of the gate," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.

By the end of the first quarter, the awe-inspiring bomber scored 25 points with seven 3's as the Warriors led 43-28.

“I said, ‘Here he goes,'" Wizards interim head coach Don Newman exclaimed. "And I knew it because that's what they usually do. I mean they come out and the first time and they want to just kill you."

Curry attempted 14 shots by halftime. Some catch-and-fire, some off the dribble, and some with such high-degree of difficulty even the harshest Olympic judge would grade kindly. Of those 14, Curry made a staggering 13, including 8 of 9 3-pointers, all leading to 36 points.

"The shots that you know feel good go in, and some of the shots that you’re like, ‘Oh that’s off,’ they end up going in," Curry explained. "So it’s just kind of a fun feeling."

The reigning NBA Most Valuable Player wasn't done. After the game Wizards rallied to 81-79 in the third quarter, Curry helped squash comeback thoughts with two more 3-pointers. More points came in the final period as the Warriors finished off the Wizards for their eighth straight win, improving to an unreal 45-4.

Speaking of unreal, Curry's final numbers qualify: 51 points and 11 3-pointers. For those inside the raucous Verizon Center, whether on the court, watching from the sideline or the stands, it felt like more. Turns out no player has ever scored more in the Chinatown arena. Curry matched the all-time mark set by Michael Jordan and Gilbert Arenas.

As for the 3-pointers, those 11 3's were more than any player in the NBA this season. Only two players in the NBA's history have ever made more in a single game.

"He was brilliant," Kerr said.

Curry was also bold, taking shots mere mortals wouldn't dare. After the Wizards committed a turnover in the backcourt, Curry gathered the ball with his back to the basket. Barely glancing at the rim, he turned, hoisted, and found nothing but the bottom of the net.

Ask any of the 20,356 fans in attendance and each would probably have another shot or dribble-drive or artistic moment or heat check stretch that stood out most. Those that paid top dollar for a chance to watch the greatest showman in the league got their monies worth.

“We watch it on TV every day," Wizards forward Otto Porter said of Curry's production, "and you look like ‘Ah it’s not like that,’ but when he does it against you, it’s eye opening for you."

Also noteworthy is that the Wizards didn't play poorly. It took Curry's magical performance to overshadow John Wall's season-high 41 points and 10 assists. Washington shot over 50 percent from the field and committed fewer turnovers than Golden State. The performance was improved compared to recent outings, but the Wizards endured another loss, their seventh in nine games.

Wall was asked how many games out of 10 the Wizards win if they play at this level. "10 out of 10," he said, "if we're not playing them."

If Curry shoots like a mere mortal, Washington stood a chance. Considering he drains so many shots from so many angles repeatedly, it's perhaps time to wonder if he's indeed from another planet. The defending champs are certainly playing otherworldly. The Wizards are simply the latest team enduring an eye-opening night.

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Wizards release new red alternate jerseys, their fifth uniform


Wizards release new red alternate jerseys, their fifth uniform

The Washington Wizards have another new alternate jersey. On Wednesday, they released pictures of their 'Earned Edition' kit, which is essentially a red version of their 'The District' series.

The Wizards now have five jerseys. They are one of 16 teams with an 'Earned Edition' because they made the playoffs last season.

Here is a look at the new uniforms:

(photos via WashingtonWizards.com)

Notice the nod to the Washington monument up the sides of the jersey. Also, the D.C. flag on the waistband is a nice touch. 

The Wizards now have red and black versions that say 'The District' on the front. Last season, they they had one in white.

The Wizards will debut the uniform on Dec. 29 when they host the Chralotte Hornets.

Expect them to be mixed in for a few games over the course of the rest of this season.


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The story behind Kelly Oubre's post-dunk pose that went viral

The story behind Kelly Oubre's post-dunk pose that went viral

Kelly Oubre Jr. didn’t know precisely what the moment required. The hops and charisma are always on standby regardless.

In one of his more controlled performances of the season, the Wizards’ forward managed to stand out in Monday’s road loss at Indiana. Not solely for his 23 points, even though it established a new season-high. Not just for a rim-rattling follow dunk, though props for the aerial work.

What came after the slam - his look to the camera and pose - is what got social media jumping. It’s why his popularity surpasses his production. It’s why his critics sometimes cannot help but smile.

Two days after turning 23, Oubre explained how the jam and viral video pose went down.

It started with two aspects not always associated with his game: Passing and court awareness.

Washington already trimmed Indiana’s 25-point lead to eight as the clock moved closer to the nine-minute mark of the fourth quarter, and the Wizards executed a play.

Bradley Beal and Markieff Morris ran interference for Oubre as he dribbled toward the right elbow.  Despite openings for a drive or shot, the player who passes with the frequency of a wishbone quarterback stuck with the plan. He looked for Morris rolling toward the basket.

“I just looked at the situation. The play was for Keef to roll and be open. He was open,” recalled Oubre.

Enter Myles Turner. The Pacers’ center dominated the paint throughout, finishing with 12 rebounds and five blocks. Oubre’s dribble brought Turner his way, but on the pass, the mobile big man quickly shifted across the paint. Morris created space and lofted a half-hook. Turner’s wingspan, on display with ferocity all night, altered the shot.

Oubre thought it might. Standing alone and with a clear path to the basket, the sleek forward made his move. Quick and light steps positioned out front if a miss bounced his way. It did.

“Myles is a great rim protector," said Oubre. "I just figured that since he’s been altering shots all game. I’d at least jump to give myself a chance to follow it up.”

Morris’s banked shot went short off the glass, sending the ball off the front of the rim. Oubre read the carom’s angle like geometry major. He rose with ease and hammered dunk the miss with two hands.

“Perfect timing, the stars aligned.”

Then the personality popped.

Before Oubre touched back down, the smile began to form. He stuck the landing like a 6-foot-7 Kerri Strug, though with two good ankles. As the grin enveloped his face and Oubre looked out into the crowd of non-well-wishers, both hands attached to his hips, forming a perfect pair of isosceles triangles. 

Oubre: “The pose was just me having fun. Their fans was talking crazy [expletive] though. I was just smiling at them the whole game.”

Just posing would have put a nice capper on the high-rising moment. Ever the showman, Oubre added a final flourish.

As the megawatt smiled remained, he went with a full head nod toward the crowd. He knew what they witnessed and that they didn’t love it. Regardless, they had to appreciate the style and let them know he felt the same.

“I don’t really look around when I’m playing," said Oubre. "It was really just because the fans didn’t want us to do good.

“I just have a lot of personality, you know? It was a good time, man.”

Oubre’s highlight reel includes a new entry. Such moments wow fans and keep scouts intrigued. If only Oubre could hone the rest of his game, they think. He’s shooting under 30 percent on 3-pointers since January. His shot selection and struggles with team defensive concepts cause exasperation.

Some team might fall in lust regardless and offer the 2015 first-round pick a hefty contract when he hits restricted free agency this coming summer. The Wizards can match any offer. Considering their salary cap concerns and Oubre’s uncertain trajectory, they might not.

Oubre wants more and says he works to improve his game daily while pushing free agency thoughts aside.

“Just getting better every day. Just taking it one day at a time, trying to live in the moment,” Oubre said. “Not necessarily looking at the future because the future will happen if I take care of now. Today I got better. Tomorrow is a new game, a new opportunity.”

Tomorrow comes Wednesday when the Wizards host the rival Boston Celtics.

“The Celtics have a lot of guys who are talented basketball players, and I’m a competitor,” Oubre said. “I’m looking forward to going to play against them.”

When it comes to the entertaining Oubre, even those head-scratching doubters probably feel the same.