The last time John Wall met Stephen Curry here, they had a duel in which they combined for 92 points in a victory for the Golden State Warriors at Verizon Center.
Tuesday, it wasn't nearly as attractive but the result worked out in the Wizards' favor. They won 112-108 as Wall had just 12 points but tied a career-high with 19 assists.
After losing the big one against the Cleveland Cavaliers 140-135 to the Cleveland Cavaliers in overtime a few weeks ago, getting this one looms large for the Wizards who had lost their first two games coming out of the All-Star break.
"They are healthy and they have a good rhythm and they know who they are and how they are going to be successful," said Curry, who missed a three that could've given them a one-point lead in the final seconds. "They have individual guys playing well and it shows in the win column, so they are going to be a tough out in the playoffs."
This was a much smarter and more discplined team than the Wizards were when they gave up 120 points in a loss at the Philadelphia 76ers and fell by double-digits to the Utah Jazz.
The ball movement was crisp (29 assists on 41 makes). The defensive rotations were, too, such as Wall allowing Draymond Green to have a breakaway dunk rather than sinking in and leaving Klay Thompson wide open for a three-pointer (8 of 28, 28.6%).
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Curry didn't make his first long ball until the third quarter. His last one put him at 2-for-9 from three. Thompson was 3-for-7 at halftime but went 0-for-6 in the final two quarters.
"I just didn't want Klay to get into a rhythm," Wall said. "Take the two, we're still up two points. Deal with it. We just try to make them put the ball on the floor and shoot a lot of mid-ranges instead of threes."
The Wizards (35-23) play at the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night, the second of three meetings in which they trail the season series 0-1.
"We're back. We're back to our regular selves," said Otto Porter, who'd made just three field goals in each of their previous two games but had a three-pointer for a 102-100 lead and a key offensive rebound that led to foul shots to help seal the victory. "We knew it was going to be a hard-fought game and we had to bring our A-game. It just kind of solidifies us coming back out of the break."
This was the type of edge that the Wizards had by going 18-3 into the All-Star break, a team that was dominant at home where they'd won 17 in a row.
"We gave up two that we feel like we should have on and this is a must-win situation for us," said Bradley Beal, who had a game-high 25 points. "We wanted to get back on track and this is a great team to do it against."