Chase for 73: Warriors take down Wizards for 67th win of season.
Is it weird yet how normal this feels? Pressed but never panicked, the Warriors continued their pursuit of history with a 102–94 win at home, running the plucky Wizards into the ground for good in the fourth. There’s a growing sense of inevitability to what the Warriors have been doing on this hallowed, ethereal ground, and with six wins (plus two emergency mulligans) left to 73, we, the witnesses, are simply left to appreciate it.
HOW IT HAPPENED
So, what’s there to know about win No. 67? In short, there were runs — a lot of them — and per usual, the Warriors’ extra gear was simply better. Golden State was without Brandon Rush, in addition to Festus Ezeli and Andre Iguodala (the latter of whom could return next week). There was another record at stake, with no team having completed an unbeaten season at home. Predictably the stakes mattered not-so-much, at least visibly, for the defending champions.
The first act was all Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, who combined for 19 of 27 first-quarter points. The Wizards punched back with an aggressive team-wide effort, everyone chipping in and Bradley Beal shooting his way to 15 first-half points. Washington led 39-37 when Curry checked in midway through the second quarter and immediately extended that lead with a 9–0 run, capitalizing on some errant Golden State passing.
Of course, it’s rare that Steph Curry checks in and things get worse. The universe tends to correct itself when this happens. So with less than three minutes in the half, Steve Kerr went to a small-ball look with Shaun Livingston in Iguodala’s usual place, and voila, the Warriors detonated. The pace picked up, Curry hit a fadeaway in front of the bench, Curry drove for a layup, and right before the break, Curry Curried (he’s so good, he’s a verb) to take a three-point lead. 12–0 run. So it went.
The third quarter was notably weird, and included a 7–0 Wizards run, 8–0 Warriors run, 10–3 Wizards run, 7–2 Warriors run, and a probably-accidental assist off the backboard from Draymond Green to Andrew Bogut.
Then the Warriors opened the fourth with six more unanswered, and it never really felt close after that. The Wizards’ dwindling postseason door closed a little further on a night Detroit and Chicago both won.
THE NUMBERS GAME
John Wall had a rough night, scoring just eight points on 4–14 shooting to go with 11 assists. The occasionally maligned Harrison Barnes was a plus-22. Curry had 26 points and seven assists, Draymond Green fell an assist short of a triple double, and at one point there was probably an NBA record set for Brazilians on one court (Leandro Barbosa, Anderson Varejao and Nene, still relevant).
…and he dunked on somebody.
That somebody was Garrett Temple, who wanted to block Stephen Curry more than most people have ever wanted to do anything.
The spectacle rolls on to Utah on Wednesday for the second of three games in four nights. The Warriors have won 10 of the past 11 meetings with the Jazz. The Jazz are 37–37 and in seventh place in the West, a half-game ahead of the Rockets and a whole-game up on the Mavericks. There will be no shortage of incentive, but Golden State has won the last two by a combined 41 points and will gun for a season sweep. By the end of the night, the magic number can, and likely will, fall to five.