On an Oscar afternoon matchup in D.C., the Washington Wizards slapped the s*** out of the Golden State Warriors, 123-115. Just as they did in the Atlanta game, the Warriors fell way behind and then rallied almost all the way back, but the coda was the same: Another Warriors loss on this nightmare alley of a road trip. Once again, they started slowly in the first quarter, as if they don’t look up at the scoreboard, and if they want to turn things around, they’re going to need to start answering the bell, fast. Washington beat the Warriors at their own game, with Gonzaga’s Corey Kispert showing off the power of the bulldog with six threes, and the Wizards racking up 33 assists, in part because the Warriors dune not guard the corner three. Golden State only had 20 assists in a game with a lot of one-on-move efforts, the ball stickier than a licorice pizza on offense. Plus, the struggling Draymond Green picked up a technical and a flagrant foul, acting like a real king dick. The east side story continues for one more game against the Grizzlies, before the team returns home where they can drive their cars to the games.
It’s getting tedious recapping these losses, so let’s hand out some awards.
Best Supporting Warrior: Otto Porter Junior once again came off the bench and dominated on the glass, pulling down 11 rebounds and scoring 14 points on highly efficient 5-7 shooting. He also provided spacing for a Warriors offense that was packed tighter than the security detail in Chris Rock’s dressing room.
Worst Editing: Steve Kerr’s new Draymond-Kuminga starting lineup has not been a success in its two games so far, mainly because they can’t stop anyone. Oh, and that’s two non-shooters on the floor at once, which is hurting the spacing for the other three players. Meanwhile, poor demoted Kevon Looney keeps chugging away on the bench, with 8 points, 6 rebounds, and two assists, and another positive plus/minus contribution in a loss. We can assume he’s going back in the starting lineup tonight, with Thompson, Green, and Porter all resting in Memphis.
Most Animated Short Player: The Warriors have been leaning hard on 6’3” Gary Payton II since he returned from his knee injury, and he’s delivering. It’s not just his always-sound defense - Payton had a steal and his first blocked shot since mid-February - but his offensive smarts, and ability to sneakily get open. Like Damion Lee, he’s a guaranteed source of energy and effort off the bench, something that’s been lacking across the board during the grind of the season and this particular trip. Honestly, they could have used more of him in the second half.
Best Director: Draymond Green admitted it took him two quarters to get on track last night, but he picked it up after the break, dishing out five assists in his 11 minutes, along with three steals. It started off rough, with a turnover, and a flagrant foul on an and-one that turned into a four-point play for Kristaps Porzinigs, who had 23 points and a season-high 6 assists. But then Draymond assisted on four straight Warriors buckets, including two three-pointers, which got the team back within seven points. Without Steph Curry, the offense really needs Draymond to initiate the action, point out where to cut, and generally get the team to start playing like Campions again. He also had some nice hockey assists, like this dish to Looney via OPJ.
Best Cinematic Plays: Jordan Poole led the way with 26 points, but his shot was about as accurate as the ranking calling Zach Snyder’s Justice League the most cheerworthy movie of the year. Poole was 1-10 from long-distance, and even missed two free throws, an event that’s even rarer than a woman winning the Best Director Oscar. But there’s no denying that he’s been the team’s best source of highlight moments in the past month, like when he split a double team late in a move that seemed so impossible it looked like CGI.
That layup ignited a furious late rally where the Warriors scored 18 points in just over three minutes and cut a 16-point deficit to just five with 32 seconds left. But Washington went 3-4 from the line down the stretch to ice things, like the fish at the CODA family’s market.
Best Picture: This one. Just look at this lighting!
Best Screen Play: Despite the callers at 95.7 The Game calling for his benching all weekend, Klay Thompson continued his hot shooting, hitting five threes and scoring 25 points, along with three assists and zero turnovers. And he got them by using screens from nearly every player on the floor - Looney and Green for sure, but also Wiggins and Poole, turning them into easy buckets and gimme assists. Look, if you don’t think these highlights are award-caliber cinema, I’ll shave my head.
Best Foreign Film: Israel import Den Avdjia put together a nice highlight package for himself last night, scoring 14 points and going 3-4 from long range. He was particularly devastating at the end of the third quarter with the Warriors again clawing back to within seven points with a minute left. Avdija hit back-to-back three-pointers to close the quarter, on plays where the defense apparently needed subtitles to follow his activity. Maybe the Warriors need to flash a sign that says “HE’S OPEN IN THE CORNER.” Clearly it would be useful at every game.
Best Actress: Jessica Chastain, for The Eyes Of Tammy Faye. Also basically what Steve Kerr did when he benched rookie Jonathan Kuminga the whole second half - he chastained him.
The Darius L. Miles Award For A Perfect Score: Former Clippers phenom Darius Miles starred in MTV Films’ The Perfect Score back in 2004, the most famous film ever to star Scarlett Johansson and Chris Evans, and the only one to include an NBA All-Rookie First Team member in the cast. We don’t know if Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has thespian aspirations, but he was perfect last night, shooting 8-8 from the field, 3-3 from three-point range, and 3-3 from the line. KCP really stung the Warriors in the third quarter, after the Dubs had closed to within seven points. He converted a three-point play and drilled a three-pointer on consecutive possessions, stretching the lead back out to 15 points. KCP also nailed two free throws late to smother the Warriors’ final comeback effort.
Most Sound: It’s the Warriors’ iron man Kevon Looney, the only Golden State player to play every game and start…all but two of them. He’s now played in 104 straight games, 106 if you count the play-in tournament, which is the second-longest active streak in the NBA, behind Saddiq Bey and Mikal Bridges. Defense, screens, passing - he can do it all, as long as “all” doesn’t include jumping more than 18 inches off the ground. If he were an Oscar nominee, Looney would be Irish big man and cinematic glue guy Ciarán Hinds.
Best Original Score: It was this steal and one-man fast break from Jordan Poole. Take that, Hans Zimmer!
The Warriors follow up this matinee with a 5 PM tilt against Memphis, where they’ll be without Klay, Draymond, and Otto. A lineup without three of their most important veterans? As they say in the movies, it’s so crazy, it just might work.