NBA Gameday: Durant returns home, Curry vs Wall as good as it gets

NBA Gameday: Durant returns home, Curry vs Wall as good as it gets

Programming note: Warriors-Wizards coverage starts today at 3pm with Warriors Pregame Live on CSN Bay Area, and streaming live right here.

When the Warriors last visited the nation’s capital, they also stopped at the White House to celebrate their 2015 NBA championship with President Barack Obama.

When they get to Washington on Tuesday, it’ll be strictly business, a game against the rampaging Wizards at Verizon Center.

The Warriors (50-9) are making their second stop in a stretch in which they will play eight games in 13 days, across four different time zones.

Since starting the season 2-8 under new coach Scott Brooks, the Wizards (34-23) have gone 32-15 to climb into top-four playoff position. They are 21-7 since Christmas Day. Their 24-8 home record is fourth best in the NBA.

BETTING LINE

Warriors by 6.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Stephen Curry vs. John Wall: Two of the truly elite point guards in the NBA and these All-Stars waged a spectacular shootout last season in D.C., with Curry outscoring Wall 51-41. The Warriors can better survive an off night from Curry than the Wizards can from Wall. Klay Thompson also will make a few runs at Wall.

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: No injuries listed. C Damian Jones is on assignment with Santa Cruz of the NBA Development League.

Wizards: No injuries listed.

LAST 10

Warriors: 8-2. Wizards: 7-3.

SERIES HISTORY

Sweeping the two-game series in each of the past two seasons, the Warriors have won four in a row and 10 of the last 11. They’ve won six straight in Washington, with the last loss coming on April 6, 2010.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

THE RETURN OF KD: Kevin Durant grew up in the D.C. area, giving the Wizards and their fans hope that upon gaining free agency he might come home. Though Durant still voices his love for the Beltway -- he has a Maryland tattoo -- he never seriously considered returning. He’ll have dozens of family and friends in the building, and it will be interesting to see how he handles it. He has been superb in spotlight games.

THE OTHER GUARDS: While most of the focus is directed at the Curry-Wall matchup, shooting guards Klay Thompson and Bradley Beal deserve their share of recognition. Thompson is widely considered the league’s No. 1 two-way shooting guard. Beal, coming into his own, is averaging 22.6 points to Thompson’s 22.0.

BEYOND THE ARC: The Warriors rank third in 3-point shooting percentage, the Wizards fifth. Washington s mall forward Otto Porter’s 45.8-percent mark leads the league. The Warriors, however, generally shoot more threes. They might have to take more shots, and make more, to hold off the home team.

Curry blames weatherman for career-worst 0-for-11 from 3-point range

Curry blames weatherman for career-worst 0-for-11 from 3-point range

In the wake of a 119-108 Warriors win over the 76ers Monday night in Philadelphia, Stephen Curry had a ready explanation for his 0-of-11 shooting 3-point distance.

He didn’t properly account for the change in weather.

“The weatherman said it’s like a low-pressure system that was coming in (and) I forgot to adjust to the thickness of the air,” he told reporters at Wells Fargo Center.

Curry’s comment may open to interpretation, but it was clear his sense of humor remained intact even after a career-worst shooting night beyond the arc.

He wasn’t the only Warrior finding it difficult to score from deep. Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green combined to go 5-of-20. The Warriors were 6-of-29 from deep, their second-lowest total of the season.

“It’s weird,” he said. “Not to discredit anything they did. The first half we had a lot of open looks that didn’t go in. Klay made a couple down the stretch. KD made one. Draymond made one from the corner.

“Other than that we still took really good shots that didn’t go in. But for us to still have moxie to withstand that and still pretty much have the lead the whole game and allow our defense to get us a win tonight was kind of our M.O.”

Given that Curry owns the single-game record for triples (13) as well as the single-season record (402), it was most alarming that he couldn’t find at least one. And he had opportunities.

“It happens but you have to try and find other ways to impact the game,” he said. “I was trying to get to the paint a little bit more and just try to make plays. One thing is I don’t get down on myself. Obviously, that’s why I got 11 of them up. I still have confidence the next one is going in and that will stay the same tomorrow.”

The Warriors face the Wizards Tuesday in Washington. In Curry’s last appearance at the Verizon Center, last Feb. 3, he went for 51 points. He was 11-of-15 from deep.

“What I love about Steph is he went 0-11 tonight from three but you wouldn’t know it if you looked at his face,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “He never loses confidence; he never hangs his head. It is a sign of a guy with ultimate confidence in his ability and the awareness that it is one of those nights.

“He is likely to come out tomorrow and make about seven in a row at some point. So that’s what I love about Steph. He keeps playing.”

Instant Replay: Warriors become first to clinch playoff berth with win vs Nets

Instant Replay: Warriors become first to clinch playoff berth with win vs Nets

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND -- What was never in much doubt with the Warriors became official Saturday night at Oracle Arena. They will be in the playoffs.

Closing out a brief two-game homestand with a 112-95 win over Brooklyn, the Warriors clinched their fifth consecutive trip to the postseason while sending the Nets to their 16th consecutive loss.

With Kevin Durant missing his first game of the season, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson carried most of the scoring load. Curry put in a game-high 27 points, while Thompson finished with 24.

Rookie forward Pat McCaw, starting in place of Durant, finished with nine points, four rebounds and two blocks. He was plus-20 for the game.

In a game between two uptempo teams, the Warriors (49-9) outscored the Nets 30-16 on fast-break points while also making 11 of their 29 3-pointers.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson scored 16 points to lead the Nets, who fell to 9-49.

STANDOUT PERFORMER

While Thompson and Curry handled most of the scoring, Zaza Pachulia submitted a strong all-around game on offense while making life difficult on Brook Lopez.

Pachulia’s line: Eight points (3-of-5 from the field, 2-of-3 from the line), nine rebounds, three assists and one block. He played 20 minutes and finished plus-29.

Furthmore, with Pachulia as the primary defender on Lopez, the Brooklyn big man didn’t score until midway through the third quarter and totaled only nine points.

TURNING POINT

After falling behind 46-45 on a Joe Harris 3-pointer with 4:02 left in the first half, the Warriors went on a 19-5 run that extended into the second half, taking 64-51 lead with 11:24 left in the third quarter.

The Warriors led by as much as 19 in the third quarter, and Brooklyn got no closer than eight (99-91, 5:10 remaining) in the fourth.

INJURY UPDATE

Warriors: F Kevin Durant (L hand contusion) was listed as out. C Damian Jones is on assignment with Santa Cruz of the NBA Development League.

Nets: F Quincy Acy (L ankle sprain) and G/F Caris LeVert (illness) were listed as out.

WHAT’S NEXT

The Warriors return to action Monday in Philadelphia, where they will face the 76ers at Wells Fargo Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 4:05 p.m. Pacific.