October 24, 2018 | Oracle Arena | Oakland, CA
The Washington Wizards fell to the back-to-back defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors, 144-122, behind a scoring clinic from Steph Curry. This was a frustrating game if you are a Wizards fan but after letting things boil over, you can sit back and appreciate a sport that features some of the greatest athletes in the world. We saw flashes of that on Wednesday night in the Wizards lone visit to Oracle (unless of course these teams meet up in June). Here are three takeaways:
The J-Smooth Show
Jason Smith is known for killer dance moves and a positive energy cheerleading on the sidelines. Wednesday night he had a different opportunity than he was accustomed to. With Ian Mahinmi (back) ruled out after leaving Monday night’s game, Scott Brooks inserted Smith into the starting lineup at center.
Smith had four points, two assists, and three offensive rebounds in the beginning of the game and made an athletic play before coming out for air when he had a block and putback. He was on the floor for seven minutes. He did not play in the second quarter as the Wizards tried to keep up with the defending champs with a small ball lineup. With the barrage of scoring throughout the game, who could blame them?
Steph Curry is Good at Basketball
Like really good. There are three things you can always count on: death, taxes and Steph Curry three-pointers. Curry had 31 points in the first half (23 in the first quarter) including a stretch in the second quarter where he just simply took over, particularly from deep. Curry hit six of the eight three-pointers he took. The Wizards, as a team, hit six three-pointers in the first half.
“Some of the shots he was making, I mean you don’t see that. He’s a special player, special scorer, special shooter. He was making 35-foot shots which, it’s hard to double team when he’s that far out and he makes them. Makes them like they’re layups. Never seen anything like it,” Brooks said after the game.
There were zero signs of slowing down after halftime. Curry scored 20 points in the third quarter and made five more three’s which put the Wizards hopes away. The Wizards cut their deficit to seven before Curry went video game mode. Some shots he hit were from ridiculous angles and distances. In all, he shot 15-of-24 through three quarters and it put the game out of reach for the Wizards. They tried as best as they could to hang in there but Curry was too good. Perhaps this was revenge for Markieff Morris pantsing his little brother on Monday night.
“He made quite a few. It seemed like every three was a back breaker. And we missed every chance to cut the lead from eight to five, seven to four with our three’s but they had two players that played out of their mind,” added Brooks.
Curry did not play in the fourth quarter as the game was already out of reach. Curry also had 51 points and 11 three-pointers against the Wizards back in February of 2016 in Washington. Somewhat identical to what we saw Wednesday night. 13 three-pointers is the NBA record, of course, held by Steph himself.
“There’s not a lot you can do. They’re tough shots. He makes it look like he’s just playing a video game because those shots are not normal shots to make. He can make them,” said Brooks.
Scoring, Scoring, and More Scoring
Curry was not the only one lighting it up. Both teams put on a show. On the home side, Kevin Durant scored 30 points on 13-of-18 shooting. Curry’s splash bro Klay Thompson chipped in 19 points. Curry and Durant scored a combined 81 points.
“KD and Steph are just amazing. Obviously, they’re two of the best players in the world and they showed it tonight,” said Brooks.
The Wizards got double figures from six players. Leading the charge was Bradley Beal. Beal left three minutes into the game due to a bruised sternum and the Wizards said he was questionable to return. He came back in the second quarter and finished the night with 23 points on 10-of-15 shooting. John Wall scored 13 points and six assists.
Jeff Green, who came in for Smith, added 10 points. Markieff Morris added 14 points with two three’s. Otto Porter Jr. scored 12 in combined action with both the starters and bench players.
“Both teams there was a lot of scoring. The only thing that was missing was the red, white and blue ball,” said Brooks.
Curry made all the headlines with the three’s but the Wizards also tried to hit three’s. They took a franchise high 40 three-pointers. The 144 points the Warriors scored was the first time the Wizards gave up 144 or more points since 1992 when they were the Bullets. Prior to that, it happened in 1972, via Basketball Reference.
Kelly Oubre Jr., who struggled in the preseason and first two Wizards games, picked up where he left off from Monday night’s 22-point game with 17 points on Wednesday night. He had 19 and 17 points, respectively, in last season’s meetings with the Warriors. You can count on Oubre to shine on the biggest stage and that is good to see.
When the game was out of reach, it was time for the young bloods to get playing time. Jordan McRae, a two-way player who may get his contract converted to a full NBA one, got some game action for the second time and scored his first points with the Wizards. The same went for Troy Brown Jr. and Thomas Bryant who made their debuts with the Wizards. Brown scored his first NBA points and finished with four points while Bryant chipped in six.
Next Game: Time to move on. The Wizards will head to Sacramento to take on the Kings on Friday night at 10:00 p.m. ET.