Highlights: Defense clamps down, Warriors extend win streak
Klay Thompson got it going early and stayed on target, scoring 26 points on a total of 14 shots, draining six of nine 3-point attempts. (AP)
Rampaging through the Eastern Conference, putting away the best it has to offer and punishing its gallery of pushovers, the Warriors are on a nine-game win streak and a five-game tour of triumph.
Life is good for the Dubs, the best it has been in the regular season since 1975.
Their latest victims, the Washington Wizards, were competitive for a half before capitulating under the weight of a 30-5 Warriors run to open the third quarter, which ignited a 112-96 victory at Verizon Center.
With the game tied at 58 at the half, the Warriors turned to defense to create offense. After allowing the Wizards to shoot 67 percent in the first quarter, the Dubs held them to 36 percent the rest of the game.
"Our game offensively is what (reporters) are going to write about, but defensively we had a hell of a second half," said center Andrew Bogut, who was active and feral in defending the paint.
"We gave up 36 points in the first quarter," coach Mark Jackson said. "When talking about the second half, giving 38 points, holding them in the 30s in field-goal percentage. We did a great job offensively, executing, taking care of the basketball. First and foremost, we did an outstanding job defending them and getting them somewhat out of rhythm."
Washington guards John Wall and Bradley Beal combined to shoot 75 percent in the first quarter, making six of eight shots. They combined to shoot 2-for-18 over the rest of the game.
Contain Wall and Beal and victory will come. When the Warriors turned up the defensive heat, the Wizards had not even a prayer of an answer.
The Warriors blocked seven shots, four by Bogut. They snagged eight steals, two each by Klay Thompson and Bogut. The won the rebounding battle, 45-42, and even committed one fewer turnover (12, to Washington's 13)
Team defense explains how a scoring star like Stephen Curry can shoot 5-for-17 and still come away plus-35 for the game.
It also explains how the Warriors have gone from barely over .500 (14-13) to 23-13 with a piece of first place in the Pacific Division. The win streak is at nine overall, including the first five games of this seven-game road trip through the East.
"Take a deep breath, enjoy it and carry on with our mission," Jackson said of the streak.
THE GOOD: The 30-5 run in the third quarter – with David Lee's 12 points leading the offense – was a superb blend of voracious defense and rhythm shooting.
Thompson got it going early and stayed on target, scoring 26 points on a total of 14 shots, draining six of nine 3-point attempts.
Bogut was as active as he has ever been in a Warriors uniform: 15 points, 11 rebounds, four blocks, two assists and two steals in 26 minutes. The last Warrior with such a line was Adonal Foyle in 2003.
THE BAD: The bench was, as it often is, painful to watch. Harrison Barnes (14 points on 4-of-6 shooting, six rebounds, three assists) did fine, but Marreese Speights, Kent Bazemore and Toney Douglas were particularly ineffective.
THE TAKE: The Warriors understand the importance of defense as it relates to easy transition offense but don't always apply the concept. Teams are at their mercy when they do. It can lead to marquee wins over the best teams, but it simply crushes the weak – and the Eastern Conference is rife with such sub-mediocre clubs as the Wizards.