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Warriors 120 - Wizards 117: The Warriors steal another thriller

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The Warriors spent the first half in a funk, before storming back in the fourth quarter

NBA: Washington Wizards at Golden State Warriors
Disco Kerr
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Friday night was Al Attles night at Oracle Arena, celebrating his nearly six decades with the Golden State Warriors. Sadly he was hospitalised the day before so wasn’t there in person to see the tribute.

But the Warriors still wheeled out quite a circus, including some 1970s cosplay.

The question was would the Washington Wizards play their part? After all it was the Washington Bullets who were swept in the 1975 NBA Finals by the Al Attles coached Warriors.

Another slow start

The game started off with everyone having a nice party on offense. Little defense was being played, save for this Draymond Green block.

In contrast to the mess against the Raptors, at least this time out we saw some actual rebounding. This led to the first sighting of the Draymond Green express, complete with the ‘AND 1’!

But it was all marred by the motherfudging turnovers - there were four in the first five minutes. Daniel did a great job of outlining the psychodelic haze the Warriors were in.

Meanwhile Stephen Curry was doing his work in the paint. Perhaps in the midst of the 1970’s regression he’d forgotten that the NBA introduced a three point line in 1979-80 season?

In truth he opened up struggling outside the arc, shooting 1-5 from three point range in the first quarter.

The quarter closed with the Warriors down 34-27. Washington looked every bit intent on avenging the 1975 Finals sweep. Not very Superfly.

Stagnant offense

For much of the second quarter the offense looked distinctly un-Warriors like. They opened feeding Klay Thompson on mismatches, and overall were stagnant in the half court.

Crucially the Warriors shot 1-18 from three until the last couple of minutes of the half. The Wizards, in contrast, couldn’t miss. In particular Kelly Oubre and Otto Porter were looking feisty.

For a while the Warriors were kept in touching distance as David West was blistering hot. Fitting as he’s the closest the Warriors have to a player born in the 70s.

Kevin Durant finally hit their first three of the quarter with 44 seconds left. But by then they were down 14 points.

Bradley Beal is wack

Then suddenly a fight breaks out. At first it looks like Draymond might be taking ‘the Destroyer’ motiff a bit too literally.

But on replay it’s clear Bradley Beal grabs Draymond’s face and throat and they spill into the stands wrestling. Eventually it’s broken up but Draymond comes up with his jersey ripped in half. Already with a technical, Draymond is tossed.

Beal is ejected too. But the Wizards players are smirking, smugly congratulating him on the bench. That was a bush-league play.

It leaves the Warriors in a real quandry. Kerr must have been smoking some bad granola because Draymond-clone Jordan Bell is inactive. So the Warriors options are limited going into the second half down 67-53.

If you wanted to watch something weird, funky and messy from the 1970s, this might be a better bet than the first half of this game.

Kevon Looney came up big

Kevon Looney got the start for the second half, looking to impress and get the Warriors to pick up his option for next year. But the Warriors - outside Durant - were still struggling.

Enter the deep reserves. Looney, whose work on the glass is proving useful, gets a nice finish after faking Gortat out of his shoes.

Omri Casspi, trying too hard to replace Dray, manages to inadvertantly kick Otto Porter right in the junk. With Casspi in the game though there’s more player and ball movement. The Warriors aren’t quite done yet.

Then Steph Curry hits back to back 3s at the end of the half and the Warriors cut the lead to ten. Maybe they’re shaking the funk off?

The anatomy of a comeback

Klay opens the fourth firing to cut the lead to seven. They definitely look like they’re hustling. A Durant three cuts the lead to just four points.

Casspi cuts it to three after a nice Otto Porter move, who’s continuing to play very well. Then West rebounds a Klay miss to cut it to one.

A Klay dunk off a Wizards' defensive breakdown, Andre Iguodala stripblocks a Marcin Gortat shot, Casspi with a lovely dime to West, and all of a sudden the Warriors have a 102-101 lead. They look a completely different team now.

David West hits a jumper to put him on 16 points with 8/9 shooting.

Omri Casspi exits the game, but he’s been all over the shop - check out his plus minus of +17 in just 13 minutes.

Then Kevon Looney enters with an immediate impact. He plays some nice defense to force John Wall into a bad shot on the drive, before running through the paint, playing the trailer perfectly, to slam it home for an and-one.

Then again Looney forces Jodie Meeks into a tough shot, Curry gets the rebound, Looney runs on the break and is rewarded with a slam dunk. Does this guy have a future with the Warriors? Hell, yeah.

Having trailed by as much as 18 points in the second half, the Warriors are up seven with two and a half minutes to play.

A 'Strength in numbers' victory

Wall cuts the lead to three off a jumper and a drive after a careless Durant turnover.

Durant makes up for it with a jumper with the clock running down. Back to five.

Durant blocks Wall but the refs call a foul despite it looking pretty clean. Ball don’t lie, though. Wall misses the first.

After Curry and Wall misfire from three, Meeks hits to cut the lead to one. Durant’s free throws push it to three with 9.4 seconds to go. A well defended last possession and they’ve somehow stolen their second close win in a row.

Durant ended up with a very impressive line of 31 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 blocks and a steal.

Ultimately though it was Steve Kerr’s ‘Strength in numbers’ philosophy that really paid off tonight.

And what a finish. After starting in a funk, the Warriors came back from the storm.

Poll

Who was your Warrior Wonder against the Wizards?

This poll is closed

  • 50%
    Kevon Looney
    (665 votes)
  • 20%
    Kevin Durant
    (263 votes)
  • 5%
    Steph Curry
    (75 votes)
  • 1%
    Pat McCaw
    (14 votes)
  • 1%
    Klay Thompson
    (25 votes)
  • 20%
    Steve Kerr's 70's collar
    (272 votes)
1314 votes total Vote Now