The Golden State Warriors have 99 problems, and none of them are real.
Most of the issues that we in the media like to write about regarding the Warriors can be explained by a malaise that comes in the regular season after three consecutive trips to the NBA Finals. Starting games slowly falls in that category.
Wednesday night the Warriors played in the nation’s capital agains the Washington Wizards, who put up 40 first-quarter points a night earlier against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Not the case against the Warriors. They started fast, applied good defensive pressure the entire game and cruised to a 109-101 victory over the Washington Wizards.
Golden State had one of their best starts to a game in recent memory, mainly behind the play of DC-area native Kevin Durant. Durant hung 16 first-quarter points on the Wizards, on the way to 36-21 lead at the end of the first period of play.
Give the Wizards credit. When the Warriors start fast, teams are inclined to chalk it up to the loss that they expected and show little fight. Washington used a 15-6 run during the second quarter, capped by a Otto Porter 3-pointer, to take a 53-52 lead.
Seven seconds later Klay Thompson hit a jumper to take the lead back for the Warriors, one they would not relinquish.
John Wall, out with a knee injury, did not play Wednesday. Real deal Brad Beal has been leading the team since Wall’s absence, but had a nightmare of a night against the smothering defense of Klay Thompson. Beal was averaging 23.7 points per game heading into the game, but didn’t hit a shot from the field until 5:19 left in the third quarter, finishing with eight .
The Warriors – you’ll never guess it – dominated that third quarter, outscoring the Wizards 27-14. They are now +343 on the season in the third quarter against their opponents.
Most of the damage the Wizards did against the Warriors on the night was against the Dino unit in the second quarter. David West, Andre Iguodala, and Shaun Livingston all finished with negative +/- numbers, but boy is it nice to have the firepower that Golden State does. Durant finished +17 with 32 points, Curry finished +20 (25 points) and the Warriors breezed to their second straight road win.
Up next for the Warriors is the final game of their three-game East Coast swing in Atlanta against the Hawks on Friday. Tipoff at 4:30 p.m. PT.