Instant Replay: Warriors 101, Wizards 97

Instant Replay: Warriors 101, Wizards 97
December 8, 2012, 6:00 pm
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David Lee had another terrific game with a team-high 24 points and 17 rebounds for his twelfth double-double of the season. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

BOX SCORE

Sloppy. Sluggish. Scary.

But a win for the Golden State Warriors.

The ugly 101-97 road win against the league-worst Washington Wizards came with a daunting moment in which Warriors (13-7) guard Stephen Curry had his foot trapped beneath him and left the floor hobbling on his left leg.

[VIDEO: HIGHLIGHTS -- Warriors 101, Wizards 97]

After limping to the locker room, Curry returned to the court just moments later and appeared to be fine playing off-guard for the remainder of the game. After the game, Curry said that it was just a stinger.

 “Just a tweak, MCL mumbo jumbo, we don’t have to worry about it. It is fine,” Curry stated in a postgame interview.

He added: “I’ll be ready for Monday.”

The Warriors did their best to give the game away, turning the ball over 19 times and settling for jump shots for most of the night. The Warriors finished 9-for-22 from the 3-point line.

“You got to win in all sorts of ways in this league and its not going to be easy, especially on the road,” Curry said.

[VIDEO: Curry: 'The Chemistry between us is getting better']

Ultimately, it was the collective play of Curry, David Lee and Klay Thompson that saved the Warriors, and gave the team its 3-0 start on the current seven-game road trip.

Lee compiled his 12th double-double of the season, scoring 24 points and grabbing 17 rebounds. Thompson had 23 points and Curry scored 22 points.

Curry shows valuable development
It was a play emblematic of not just the evolution of Stephen Curry, but the team as well. Late in the third quarter, Curry displayed his continuing progression as a leader by adjusting the team’s offense.

At that point, the team had just 14 points in the paint and had settled for 19 3-pointers. Rather than continuing the adverse trend, Curry authored change. The team’s 24-year-old guard, playing in his 200th career game, showed maturity by attacking the basket on three consecutive possessions.
 
First, Curry attacked with the left hand over Nene and scored a difficult layup. Then he drove again, hooking a pass to Draymond Green for a bucket. On the third trip, before he came out to rest, Curry again attacked the left side of the rim, and though he missed the layup, he drew the defense with him and left Carl Landry open for a dunk putback.

The Warriors guard made the adjustment and it began a trend of attacking the basket in the fourth quarter rather than settling for perimeter shots. The team shot just three more three-pointers the rest of the way, and scored more in the paint and from the free throw line.

History lesson
The team is off to its best start since the 1991-92 season when they also went 13-7. Additionally, it's the first time the Warriors have earned three consecutive wins to start a road trip since 2003.

The other ‘breathe again’ moment
With Curry back on the court, and just under three minutes to play, a hustle play by Draymond Green found Klay Thompson, who hit a baseline 3-pointer to push Golden State’s lead to 91-85. On the next possession, Curry embodied Tim Hardaway with a quick crossover and dish to David Lee who scored to bring the lead to 93-85. The lead allowed for some much-needed space in the game’s final moments.
 
Doesn’t show up in the stat line
Green’s impact doesn’t always show in the box score. Green fouled out and had just six points, but his interior defense and presence in the lineup was significant to the Warriors. Green’s court intelligence was a difference-maker as he started the fourth quarter.

Tweet prayers answered
@karadanielle22: Can we please not be the team that gives the Washington Wizards their 3rd win of the season #warriorstalk #LetsGoWarriors

Take-that-back Tweet of the game
 @raidergabe tweeted: “If Klay shoots less, we will win! We need good shot selections! #WarriorsTalk” In reality, Thompson shot 8-for-14 and 5-for-9 from 3-point range.

Mama said there’d be nights like this
Wizards No. 3 overall pick Bradley Beal was supposed to be the rookie disappointment while Harrison Barnes was climbing the charts of rookie rankings.

But first-year seasons come with inconsistent blues and Barnes’s first and only basket came on a 3-pointer in the first minute of the fourth quarter. He finished on 1-for-7 shooting, however he did contribute with six rebounds and four assists.

Meanwhile, Beal had 17 points, six assists and six rebounds. Overall though, he shot 6-for-17 and was 1-for-6 from 3-point range.

Thanks for that, Nene
Nene missed plenty of layups in the paint throughout the night. Breaking down the Warriors’ efforts of post defense, Nene missed a handful of point-blank attempts from inside finishing 3-for-9 for nine points.

Final minutes
The game seemed finished when a pick-and-pop from Thompson to Lee gave the Warriors a 95-89 lead with just a minute remaining. But it wasn’t over when Jordan Crawford hit his fourth 3-pointer of the game with 53 seconds remaining to move back within 95-92.

After Green missed a jumper, he then picked up a foul on a poorly called block on the other end. But 90 percent free throw shooter Martell Webster missed one of his two free throws with 16.1 seconds left.

Curry then extended the lead to 97-93 with two made free throws before Bradley Beal answered with a 3-pointer with eight seconds left. Again, Curry knocked down two free throws before the Warriors attempted to take a foul with a three-point lead and 4.2 seconds remaining.

Golden State’s Charles Jenkins just avoided a costly mistake when he fouled Beal while shooting, but luckily Beal had his foot on the 3-point line. After making the first free throw, Beal missed the second on purpose, got the rebound off his miss and then blew the layup attempt that would have tied the game.

For more Warriors news and opinion, follow @jimmypspencer on Twitter.

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