The Washington Wizards showed a ton of grit last night against the visiting Golden State Warriors. They also showed their lack of poise during a pivotal stretch in the fourth quarter. Washington cut a once 15 point lead to just two with 7:47 left in the fourth quarter. The had a chance to tie it at 108 when Chasson Randle found a cutting Sam Dekker, but Sam missed the point blank shot at the rim. The reigning NBA champs responded with a quick 9-0 run to regain control of the game. Golden State would hold on to win 126-118.
It was clear from the start that Washington wanted to take something away from the Warriors. That being the three point line, holding the Warriors to just seven of 20 from the three point line. While the Wizards shot more than double that amount from beyond the arc, going 15 of 42 from deep. So Golden State took what was available, wearing out the midrange and scoring in the paint. Stephen Curry scored 38 points on 14 of 24 shooting, hitting just two three pointers.
Washington got a great performance from Trevor Ariza, he scored 27 points. He was just one of several Wizards who contributed on the night. Every member of the starting lineup reached double figures. Bradley Beal did struggle from the floor, but he pulled down 10 rebounds to go wit his 22 points (8-of-22 from the floor, 1-of-9 from deep).
One thing the Wizard did a great job of was throwing the ball ahead off of makes or misses. Beating Golden State down court for easy baskets, but that stretch in the fourth when they tried to go for home runs instead of taking singles really cost them. Rebounding was also an area in which Washington struggled a bit, Golden State out rebounded them 50 to 36.
Washington starts a three game road trip today in Orlando while Golden State travels to Boston to face the Celtics on Saturday.
Cousins. He's continuing to work himself back into it, still trying to get his wind up. DeMarcus played 24 minutes, scoring 17 points, with 6 rebounds and 3 assists. There was a stretch in the fourth where Golden State just kept dropping the ball into the paint and letting him go to work. It's also clear that this added dimension is quite new. As several possessions they forced the ball down to the block.
Ariza. With Beal and Porter struggling, he was the lead aggressor for the Wizards from the opening tip. For those wondering why he was a good acquisition for Washington, he showed why last night. He was unfazed by Golden State and provided timely baskets throughout the night.
Randle. With Porter struggling from the floor, Randle led the second unit with 11 points, eight of which came in the fourth quarter. He played a big role in that run that cut the deficit to just two.
Draymond. With the addition of Boogie, it's easy to forget or overlook Green's contributions.But he was huge last night, pulling down 15 rebounds along with 7 assists and 7 points. The Warriors needed that energy during a few lulls they had on both ends.
Levels. Listening to several Warriors players after the game, they all praised Beal for how he's dealt with shouldering the brunt of the load with Wall being out. They also made it clear that Wall's absence is a big deal. While most love talking about the fire power Golden State has and their ability to hit the three ball, last night was a perfect example of how they routinely take what's given to them. They can score in bunches both inside and outside the arc, they scored 70 points in the paint. That mentality is something Washington can definitely take from this, take what the defense gives you.