Warriors couldn't overcome Curry's rough night; get swept by Wizards
There are plenty of teamwide positives to glean, but frustration remains as Golden State blows another lead to Washington.
Goshdarnit, the Golden State Warriors couldn’t close the deal in a 118-114 loss to the resilient Washington Wizards. Stephen Curry had his worst game in quite some time, but his teammates nearly saved the day with gutsy performances from Kelly Oubre Jr., Kent Bazemore, and Jordan Poole. That’s an important sign; if these Dubs make the playoffs they’ll absolutely need guys besides their MVP to do some heavy lifting.
Let’s dive into how it all went down last night in Washington, D.C.
Wizards pulled off another harrowing escape
The Dubs were supposed to get some payback on the Wiz for stealing a game in Chase Center almost two weeks ago. In that contest the Dubs locked up All-Star Bradley Beal, Oubre had a brilliant game against his former team, and GSW blew a fourth quarter lead punctuated by an Andrew Wiggins crunch-time gaffe.
Last night the Dubs once again harassed Beal into ghastly shooting (8-of-21 from the field) and Oubre once again had a strong performance (more on that later). The Dubs even had a bigger fourth quarter advantage this time, going up 104-93 with 6:58 to play. And yet they let this one slip away, punctuated by another Wiggins miscue.
One of the main reasons for the collapse was the Warriors suddenly reverting back to their fouling issues. Over the last 6:49 of the game, the Wizards went 10-of-11 from the free throw line, wiping out Golden State with a final 25-10 run. The Wizards finished 32-of-38 on FT’s for the game, a big advantage over Golden State’s 19-of-21 night at the line.
Now, I’m not the type of guy to go back over every single foul call and nitpick…but it sure seemed to me like the Warriors were not getting the benefit of the doubt from the referees. For example, Westbrook putting two hands on him from behind on a layup attempt that left Oubre visibly frustrated after a no call.
And as long as I’m crying about the refs, what about this technical on Jordan Poole for apparently being too saucy?
It’s tough to watch yet another opponent snatch a victory at the charity stripe. Then again, I probably wouldn’t be sitting here whining about the refs if the Warriors two primary offensive players didn’t put up absolutely awful shooting performances last night.
Curry and Wiggins couldn’t get it going
Curry: 7-of-25 shooting, 2-of-14 from 3PT range, 8 assists, 7 rebounds, 6 turnovers
Wiggins: 5-of-20 shooting, 0-of-7 from 3PT range, 4 rebounds, 3 steals
When your top two (healthy) scoring options combine to go 12-of-45 from the field, it’s gonna be a rough night. Wiggins got plenty of good looks but couldn’t convert, with that game-ending missed layup exemplifying his night.
But if we’re talking about laying bricks, we gotta talk about the legend Steph Curry having a rare terrible night on offense.
Give credit to the Wizards defense for putting up resistance against the most deadly scorer in the game. They made sure to keep multiple bodies on him, spearheaded by an energetic effort from old rival Russell Westbrook.
The Wiz weren’t ashamed to throw extra defenders to force Curry into difficult looks. Check how Westbrook and Raul Neto smothered Curry like bees trying to kill an invading wasp.
Curry tried to turbo out of it, but ended up getting pressured into the next wave of Washington defenders. That’s now four Wizards encircling him as he tried to use pure speed to navigate.
Curry’s left hand can’t quite keep a grip on the ball, and he ends up coughing up a meek turnover directly into Avdija’s hands.
There’s not going to be a lot of games where Curry has almost as many turnovers (6) as made field goals (7), but his off night put the Dubs in a bad spot. You could feel Curry pressing to break through, desperate to lift his team… but it just wasn’t happening. And yet Golden State still had a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter. How?
Strength in Numbers still lives
If the Dubs had held on to win this game, the talk would revolve around how Oubre and Co. stepped up in the absence of Curry and Wiggins’ offense.
Oubre led the team in points (24) and rebounds (9, tied with Bazemore) and added 2 blocks in 37 minutes off the bench. He showed off the versatility and physicality that makes him such a tantalizing puzzle piece for this Warriors franchise. He knocked down threes (2-of-4), led the team in free throws (6-for-6) and showed off an improved feel for the offense. He was looking to set offball screens and fluidly moved from shooter spots to dunker spots when Draymond Green was penetrating. And how about this big time block on the center?!
Bazemore, the man who recently replaced Oubre in the starting lineup, was a major bright spot. 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting (4-of-6 from downtown) with 9 boards, 6 steals, and 2 blocks?! Baze adds an indignant edge to this team and he shows no fear of anybody.
Jordan Poole is cementing himself as the sparkplug off the bench the organization hoped he would be when they took him late in the first round of the 2019 draft. His 22 points in 25 minutes with only one turnover was fantastic. He put on an exciting performance, drilling 6-of-10 from 3PT range and adding 2 steals. I honestly thought this barrage of threes he nailed midway through the final period would seal the win.
The bench performing well despite missing injured Dubs like Juan Toscano-Anderson and Damion Lee is another revelation that Coach Steve Kerr’s developmental process is paying dividends despite the poor health of this depth chart.
Can you believe the Dubs got swept by Washington in such an annoying fashion? The Wizards will gladly take this win (their sixth in a row) as they look to sneak in the Eastern playoffs.
I can’t even be mad at the Warriors’ defensive effort: Westbrook had an amazing 14-20-10 triple-double but shot a terrible 5-of-17 from the field. Beal’s 29 and 10 were huge, but ultimately the Dubs did a decent job of containing him.
Golden State appeared to simply run out of gas in their fifth game in eight days, and I’ll gladly take their 3-2 road trip in spite of the extra injuries they accrued. The Dubs are still in the thick of the playoff race, and Curry still has the edge on Beal in the scoring title hunt.
Time for these Warriors to come back home to the Bay where Dub Nation will be waiting for them.