The first two games out of the All-Star break, no matter how bad the Wizards looked vs. the Philadelphia 76ers and Utah Jazz, are bygones. That’s because Tuesday, they upset the Golden State Warriors at Verizon Center 112-108 in their fourth sellout of the season.
The Wizards (35-23) led most of the way and by as many as 19 points in the first half before Golden State made its run. But they had to overcome a pair of three-pointers from Draymond Green to tie the score at 106 and a missed three-pointer by Steph Curry that could've won it in the waning seconds.
John Wall had his 38th double-double and tied a career-high in assists (12 points, 19 assists, six rebounds) while Bradley Beal (25 points, three steals), Otto Porter (14 points, eight rebounds, three assists), Markieff Morris (22 points, six rebounds, four blocks), Marcin Gortat (12 points, 12 rebounds) and Bojan Bogdanovic (16 points).
Curry (25 points), who was coming off 0-for-11 shooting from three-point range Monday in Philadelphia, didn’t make one until the third quarter. Klay Thompson (16 points) was their primary offense early but Zaza Pachulia (12 points, eight rebounds), Green (14 points, 14 assists, eight rebounds) and Shaun Livingston (14 points) were factors, too.
The Warriors (50-10) took their first lead 80-79 after four consecutive free throws from Livingston late in the third, but Porter made a clutch three-pointer for a 102-100 lead, Beal made a floater for a 104-103 lead, Morris had a dunk on a lob and all three combined to shoot 6-for-6 from the foul line in the final 1:18.
Patrick McCaw (eight points) replaced Kevin Durant in the lineup after he went down with an injury.
--It wasn’t a well-played game in terms of taking care of the ball. Both teams combined for 39 turnovers but both teams played well defensively. The Wizards and Warriors are tops in the league in deflections.
--Durant’s return home was anticlimactic again, similar to what happened last season when he played here for the only time with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Gortat maneuvered for position and it knocked Pachulia to the floor. He fell backwards onto Durant’s foot and forced his left knee backwards. His night ended after 1:33 as he went to the locker room and the team announced he had a hyperextension that would require an MRI. Durant only took one shot and didn’t score.
--Gortat was tentative getting the ball on the short rolls to the basket. He appeared to be predetermining that he wouldn’t shoot the ball and pass instead. That produced four turnovers for him in the first half alone when the Wizards could’ve had a lead larger than 61-49 at the break. Morris had difficulty finishing over smalls on switches as Golden State collapsed with active hands to bother him and relied on help to contest late, but he was able to make them pay when he scored 11 of his points in the fourth.
--Ian Mahinmi (six points, six rebounds) had his best game in Washington, entering earlier than usual because of two first-quarter fouls on Gortat. He was the defensive presence that he needed to be against a team like Golden State that has so many shooters that bigs who can step out, help contain the ball and get back to his man is important. Mahinmi blocked a dunk attempt by Green at the rim and then went at Pachulia for a bucket on a counter move. Mahinmi frustrated Pachuilia into a foul on the next offensive possession for the Warriors and forced JaVale McGee into a turnover when he recovered to stop him at the time.
--After 16 points in the first quarter, Beal went silent until a three-pointer just past the midway point of the third. Wall played the role of facilitator for most of three quarters until he grew more assertive as Golden State locked in on taking his shooters away. He had 17 assists – two short of tying a career-high – entering the fourth quarter. Both found ways to close as Curry and Thompson shot a combined 5-for-22 from three-point range.