Warriors defense chokes off Wizards
The Warriors made history yet again Monday night, sweeping their second six-game home stand of the season to become the first team in the NBA to ever do so with a 107-76 victory over the Wizards.
Surprised that his team was the first team to ever sweep multiple six-game home stands in the same season, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr made sure he heard the stat correctly before telling SFBay that his team is enjoying all the little things that pushing them toward their end goal of a championship:
“We enjoy each victory and we enjoy every night. That’s part of the magic of this team is just having fun. There’s a lot of joy in that locker room from one night to the next … It’s is impressive, but they’re not going to give us a trophy for it so we’ll just keep doing what we’re doing. We’ll keep grinding away and enjoying everyday and see where it takes us.”
Golden State has no shortage of offense — they are now the first team to win 40 games by double-digits in a single season since the Thunder did in 2012-13 — but its defense dictated the team’s 57th win of the season.
A defensive clampdown by the Warriors in the third quarter took the Wizards out of the game. Golden State held Washington to just 1-of-18 from the field, outscoring the Wizards 29-8 in the quarter that saw the lead pushed from 52-49 at halftime to 81-57 by the start of the fourth.
Center Andrew Bogut finished the night with 12 rebounds in a defensive clinic, saying the Warriors don’t get the respect they deserve as one of the best defenses in the league:
“We’re still one of the best offensive teams and we have two of the best shooters in the league so everyone looks at the way we shoot the ball and the points we put on the board. But everyone forgets that the reason we’re winning games mainly is because we’re getting stops to get those shots.”
Kerr said he liked the movement offensively in the first half, but the shots just weren’t falling. He told SFBay the defense staying locked in was exactly what saved the day:
“That was the whole game really … That’s the beauty of this team. A night like tonight where maybe the ball is not going in we can get stops and get on a run. That third quarter defense was fantastic.”
Despite Harrison Barnes being the only Warrior to score through the first four minutes of play, Golden State was able to sustain a 10-0 Wizards run with Curry hitting 13 of his game-high 24 points in the first frame.
John Wall sank a jumper at the first quarter buzzer bringing his total to 11 points, but was held scoreless through the rest of the contest.
Wizards coach Randy Wittman was baffled with his team’s effort in the second half, and after the game questioned their commitment:
“This has happened too much. Are we committed to playing? That’s what I asked our guys. Are we committed? … We stopped playing instead of playing through it. That’s troubling.”
It was Draymond Green, who hit his first three-pointer of the game, that would spark a 30-4 run earning the Warriors a 23-point lead late in the third.
Green said focusing in and playing better defensively has been a talking point the last few weeks and the Warriors are seeing that great defense leads to easier offense:
“We flew around and they didn’t really get any clean drives to the basket and we didn’t turn the ball over much in that span. We kind of forced them into taking tough jump shots…any time you do that you’ll be in a good position.”
Golden State maintained its 20-plus point lead through the final quarter with Andre Iguodala becoming the fourth Warrior of the night to finish in double figures with 11 points.
As the final moments wore on, Justin Holiday entertained the crowd with a 360-degree dunk on a fast break, and Speights continued to score, finishing with 16 points and five rebounds in 14 minutes.
With the victory, the Warriors are now just one win (or one Clippers loss) away from clinching the Pacific Division title for the first time since the 1975-76 Warriors did so.
The Warriors, now an NBA-best 57-13, head out on a four-game road trip starting Tuesday in Portland where they will look to clinch the division title.
Warriors honor 1974-75 Champions
The Warriors celebrated the 40th Anniversary of the Warriors winning the 1975 NBA Championship with several members of the 1975 team in attendance at Monday’s game.
Head coach Alvin Attles, Rick Barry, Butch Beard, Charles Dudley, George Johnson, Jeff Mullins, Clifford Ray, Jamaal Wilkes, assistant general manager Hal Childs, assistant coach Joe Roberts and athletic trainer Dick D’Oliva were honored at mid-court between the first and second quarter and received a standing ovation from the sellout crowd.
Kerr said the Warriors didn’t talk during the time but instead watched the introduction and cheered along with the fans:
“We look at their banner every day at our facility. They’ve accomplished what everybody that has played in the NBA wants to accomplish. That’s the goal for every team and obviously for ours. It was very special to have them in our building tonight. We brought them all into our locker room immediately after the game and Rick Barry shared some words with our group.”
“Rick pointed out a lot of similarities with the teams like the deep rotations and the chemistry. They have ‘Togetherness’ written on their championship rings. … It’s been a lot of fun and we are enjoying this season. We are going to take it as far as we can.”
The Warriors continued to pay tribute to the 1974-75 team throughout the night with video tributes, honoring the teams only title in its 53-year history on the West Coast (third NBA championship overall).
The Warriors won their 13th-straight contest at Oracle Arena, posting multiple home winning streaks of at least 13 games in the same season for the first time in franchise history. … Golden State earned its 15th victory by a margin of at least 20 points this season, a franchise-best in a single season. … The Warriors held the Wizards to 27 second-half points, a season-low in a half for a Golden State opponent. … Stephen Curry tallied a game-high 24 points, shooting 5-of-8 from three. It was his 64th career game with at least five three-pointers and five assists, the most in NBA history. Curry now has 78 career games with at least five three-pointers, one behind Reggie Miller for second-most such games all-time. … Marreese Speights led the Warriors’ reserves with 16 points for his 38th game this season scoring in double-digits, a single-season career best.