Instant Replay: Warriors 101, Wizards 97

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Instant Replay: Warriors 101, Wizards 97

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.



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.



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.

Four takeaways from Warriors' first-round sweep of Blazers

Four takeaways from Warriors' first-round sweep of Blazers

PORTLAND -- Four games, four quarters to each and the Warriors are on to the next round of the postseason.

Here are four things we learned about these Warriors in the wake of their four-game sweep of the Trail Blazers in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.

IT’S A TEAM THING: The Warriors lost All-Star forward Kevin Durant in Game 1, came back and won Game 2. They lost head coach Steve Kerr before Game 3, went out and fashioned one of the biggest comebacks in franchise postseason history. They are constructed in such a way that the collective is strong enough to overcome the loss of one man. They won this series in a walk despite being shorthanded for the last three games and without their head coach for the last two. This team and this staff are bigger than any individual.

JAVALE McGEE MATTERS: By last Sept. 16 the summer was all but gone and every coveted player NBA player had been accounted for. That’s when the Warriors signed McGee with the hope that he could provide some length and athleticism on the block, if only for a few minutes a night -- and, surely, some nights not at all. McGee was the last man to make the team, and here he was dominating a Trail Blazers team that, to be fair, lacked a healthy center. He was special in this series, and what he provides will be needed as the Warriors move forward.

DRAYMOND’S VALUE IS BEYOND MEASURE: There were so many examples during the regular season that illustrated Draymond Green’s significance to the Warriors. He topped them all in this series. He defended, at some point, every member of the Portland team. He rebounded. He made 3-pointers. He blocked 17 shots. The Blazers tried him early but quickly become discouraged at attacking whenever he was on the court. He disrupted their offense in more ways than they could have imagined. As a bonus, he avoided notable run-ins with officials.

SPLASHING NOT NEEDED: Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson were fabulous in the second half of Game 3 and Curry stood out in Game 4. But by the time the Splash Brothers found their offensive groove, the Warriors were up 2-0 in the series and rallying behind their defense en route to taking Game 3. The battle of the backcourts, logically deemed a critical factor in this series, was a virtual statistical standoff. Curry/Thompson combined for 192 points, while Damian Lillard 111 and CJ McCollum totaled 201. If it’s the numbers are that close, the Warriors will win every series, and probably sweep.

 

Instant Replay: Warriors torch Blazers, complete first-round sweep

Instant Replay: Warriors torch Blazers, complete first-round sweep

BOX SCORE

PORTLAND -- Never allowing the Trail Blazers to find an offensive rhythm, the Warriors rolled to a 128-103 Game 4 triumph Monday night, completing a sweep of the first-round Western Conference playoff series.

The Warriors advance to the conference semifinals and will face the winner of the Jazz-Clippers series currently tied at two games apiece.

All five Warriors starters scored in double figures, with Stephen Curry scoring 37 points to lead the way. Draymond Green totaled 21, Klay Thompson 18 and Zaza Pachulia 11. David West scored 12 points off the bench.

Kevin Durant -- making his first appearance since Game 1 -- started and added 10 points, three rebounds, two assists, two blocks and one steal in 20 minutes of action.

The Warriors rode white-hot shooting from deep, making 17-of-29 (58.6 percent).

The Warriors silenced the Moda Center crowd early, outshooting Portland 62.5 percent to 29.6 percent in the first quarter before going on to finish with a 53.5-percent to 38.8-percent advantage for the game.

Damian Lillard scored 34 points to lead the Trail Blazers, who were ousted from the playoffs by the Warriors for the second consecutive year.

STANDOUT PERFORMER:
Curry, who struggled with his shot for the majority of the series, continued the hot streak he began in the fourth quarter of Game 1.

Curry’s line: 37 points (12-of-20 shooting from the field, including 7-of-11 from beyond the arc, 6-of-7 from the line), eight assists, seven rebounds and two steals. He played 30 minutes and finished plus-29 for the game.

Curry moved into a tie with Robert Horry for ninth place on the all-time list of 3-pointers in the postseason with 261.

TURNING POINT:
The Warriors took control immediately, going up 14-0 with 8:40 left in the first quarter and pushing it to 35-9 with 4:11 left in the quarter. They led by as much as 28 in the first half.

Portland got no closer than 18 in the second quarter, and no closer than 23 after intermission.

INJURY UPDATE:
Warriors: F Kevin Durant (L calf strain) was listed as questionable and upgraded to available prior to tipoff. F Matt Barnes (R foot/ankle bone bruise) and G Shaun Livingston (R index finger sprain, hand contusion) were listed as questionable and downgraded to out prior to tipoff. F Kevon Looney (L hip strain) was listed as out.

Blazers: G Allen Crabbe (L foot soreness) and G CJ McCollum (R ankle sprain) are listed as probable. C Jusuf Nurkic (L leg fracture) C Ed Davis (L shoulder surgery), C Festus Ezeli (L knee surgery) and C Jusuf Nurkic (R leg fracture) are listed as out.

WHAT’S NEXT:
The Warriors now await the winner of the Clippers-Jazz first-round series. Game 1 date TBD, either April 30 or May 2.