Warriors finish off Wizards sans Curry
The Warriors lead slowly dissipated in the fourth quarter, but Washington could never pull to within closer than seven. (AP IMAGES)
OAKLAND -- When Stephen Curry shoots the way he did Saturday night, the Warriors are a tough team to slow down. When they combine his shooting with solid defense, they're a team capable of winning a playoff series.
Curry connected on 13-of-18 shots for 35 points as the Warriors (40-31) opened their five-game home stand with a 101-92 win against Washington at Oracle Arena.
It did, however, end on a sour note for Golden State. Curry sprained his right ankle with six minutes left in the game and did not return.
"I wanted to fly and go to church," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. "Immediately."
Jackson said Curry lobbied to return shortly after, but didn't want to risk further injury with the Warriors in control. His status for Monday's game against the Lakers is unclear, but Curry didn't sound too worried as he iced his ankle immediately following the game.
"I'm fine. Don't worry about my ankle, I'll get through it like I usually do," he said. "I just have to get my treatment and get ready for Monday."
It was the third highest scoring output of the season for Curry, who was good on 6-of-10 attempts from deep. With an additional eight assists, he remains on pace to become the first player in NBA history to average at least six assists and three three-pointers per game in a season.
"Night in and night out, he's the best player on the floor and playing with great confidence," Jackson said. "It's special to see because when you play like players like that, it elevates everybody else and makes them believe we can win because we've got the baddest dude on the floor."
As well as Curry shot it, Golden State benefitted greatly from a third-quarter ejection of Washington point guard John Wall, whom the team has struggled without all year. Wall didn't take kindly to a hard foul from Klay Thompson while driving to the basket, then continued to jaw in Thompson's ear on the other end.
Referee Gary Zielinksi saw enough and issued a double techincal, which resulted in Wall's ejection. He picked up his first techinical foul with 5:38 left in the first quarter. Headed into Saturday, the Wizards (25-44) were 20-15 with Wall in the lineup and 5-28 without.
Golden State led 69-57 at the time of Wall's ejection and closed the quarter on a 13-7 run.
The Warriors lead slowly dissipated in the fourth quarter, but Washington could never pull to within closer than seven. Washington finished 36-of-88 (40.9 percent) from the field.
With a five-game lead over Utah, which sits in the No. 9 spot in the Western Conference standings, it would take an epic collapse for the Warriors to miss the playoffs for the 18th time in the last 19 years. Golden State has 11 games left in the regular season, nine of which are against teams with worse records and eight at home.
Utah, meanwhile, has lost 11 of 14 since a 115-101 win against the Warriors on Feb. 19. The Jazz (34-35) have 13 games left, including a meeting at Golden State on April 7.
The Warriors jumped out to an 8-0 lead and limited Washington to 28.6 percent shooting in the first quarter while building a 29-17 lead. It could have been bigger, but Thompson missed a shot with six seconds left in the quarter and Cartier Martin hit a three at the buzzer on the other end.
Washington's shooting woes continued in the second quarter as Golden State extended its lead to 58-40. The Wizards were 15-for-45 from the field in the first half, led by eight points from Wall.
Despite the big lead, the Warriors didn't feel the lead was secure. Just a night before, Washington erased an 18-point third-quarter deficit to beat the Lakers in Los Angeles.
That comeback was a talking point during the game for Golden State.
"You'd be stupid not to mention it," forward David Lee said. "Coach mentioned it at halftime and we mentioned it at the end of the third quarter."
Every Warriors started scored in double digits and Jarrett Jack added 11 off the bench.
Martin scored a team-high 23 points for the Wizards. Washington was without Trevor Ariza, who missed the game due to flu-like symptoms.
Ranadivé Courtside at Oracle
Just hours after Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson announced a plan involving Warriors minority owner Vivek Ranadivé to keep the Kings in Sacramento had been finalized, Ranadivé was in his usual courtside seat at Oracle Arena -- six seats closer to midcourt than Joe Lacob.
USA Today reported Ranadivé will be the lead partner in a group previously led by 24-Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov and supermarket mogul Ron Burkle intent on purchasing the Kings. The founder of Bay Area-based software company Timco, would need to sell his interest in the Warriors for the deal to be possible.
Johnson announced the deal on Twitter:
I’m pleased to announce an agreement w/ Burkle-Mastrov-Ranadive group on a public-private partnership to build a new ESC at DT Plaza Mall...— Kevin Johnson (@KJ_MayorJohnson) March 23, 2013
Then Ranadivé weighed in shortly before tipoff of the Warriors' game with Washington:
Extremely pleased & excited about today's announcement. #HereWeStay— Vivek Ranadivé (@Vivek) March 24, 2013
The bid will be presented at an NBA Board of Governors meeting in New York City on April 3.
Next up -- Los Angeles Lakers, Monday.
With the Lakers 3.5 games back of Golden State in the Western Conference standings, they make their final trip to Oracle Arena on Monday. Kobe Bryant and Paul Gasol both returned to the lineup after missing time with injuries in a 103-100 loss to Washington on Friday.
The Lakers (36-34) won the first two meetings with the Warriors this season and will host them on April 12 in the second-to-last game of the year for Golden State.