Fast Forward: Warriors look to stay hot vs. Wall, Wizards

Poole: Warriors could finish roadie undefeated

Fast Forward: Warriors look to stay hot vs. Wall, Wizards
January 5, 2014, 12:15 pm
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John Wall and Stephen Curry are two of the best young point guards in the game, which should make for an interesting game Sunday in Washington. (AP)

Programming note: Warriors-Wizards coverage tips off Sunday at 2:30 p.m. with Warriors Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area (territorial restrictions apply)

The Warriors have had their way with the Wizards in recent years, winning the last five games between the teams. But that dominance is in peril Sunday because Washington's John Wall continues to rise toward stardom.

The 6-foot-3 guard is among the league's most athletic players, maybe the fastest and certainly is one of the most dynamic. He's averaging 19.9 points a game but on a streak of eight consecutive games in which he has scored at least 20 points.

Like Stephen Curry, Wall is an atypical point guard insofar as both are relative youngsters who also lead their team in scoring. That's where the similarities end. While Curry is a long-distance shooter who occasional drives, Wall is an end-to-end jackrabbit.

Though the Wizards (14-16) have a reasonable chance to be a playoff team in the Eastern Conference, they've lost two in a row and will be facing the hottest team in the NBA. The Warriors (22-13) have won their last eight games, their longest streak since 2005, including the last four on the road.

[POOLE: Rewind: Warriors turn bad loss into proud victory]

This is Game 5 of the seven-game trip, and there are no more trap games. It's Washington on Sunday, then on to Milwaukee on Tuesday and Brooklyn on Wednesday.

Having earned some time off in the wake of back-to-back wins at Miami on Thursday and Atlanta on Friday, the Warriors ought to be fresh on Sunday evening in the nation's capital.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Curry and Klay Thompson vs. Wall and Bradley Beal. Curry would have his hands full with Wall, so expect Warriors coach Mark Jackson to turn to Thompson, who is both taller and a superior defender. Curry is more likely to see Beal, an emerging player who is on limited minutes as he deals with a stress injury in his right leg. No question, though, Wall and Beal are Washington's most explosive players. If the Warriors win the battle of guards, they likely take the game.

David Lee and Andrew Bogut vs. Nene Hilario and Marcin Gortat. Though Bogut and Gortat are listed as the centers, there could be some cross-matching here, too, with Bogut usually defending Nene and Lee dealing largely with Gortat. Neither Wizard is a prolific scorer but both can be dangerous. If Lee continues his offensive wizardry, he should be too much for either Gortat or Nene.

INJURY UPDATE: Centers Jermaine O'Neal (right wrist surgery) and Festus Ezeli (right knee surgery) are out for the Warriors.

Beal (stress injury in right leg) and Nene (tendinitis in right heel) have been playing limited minutes.

SERIES HISTORY: The Warriors have won the last five matchups and eight of the last 11.

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