Sunday at Chase was supposed to be the return of the Warriors 3-point stroke in Stephen Curry’s homecoming.
But he was ruled out until at least Thursday, and so was the Warriors shooting as they fell to the Washington Wizards 124-110.
While Andrew Wiggins didn’t get to play with Curry Sunday, he’s already excited to experience the MVP’s presence first hand, and envisioning the impact he’s going to make:
“It’ll make a big difference. I can drive and attack the basket because Steph tracks a lot of attention. He’s someone that you have to watch and look at every time he’s on the floor. You can’t sleep, you can’t relax on him at all, so it’s gonna open up for everybody else.”
The Warriors pulled out a miracle win Saturday night in Phoenix with just eight healthy bodies. Just 24 hours later, they were back at Chase trying to ride that momentum, and for spurts they looked like they might repeat their effort.
Golden State just simply could not put the ball in the bucket enough. The offensive drought doomed any chance of creating just their second winning streak of the year.
Kevon Looney was out, Jordan Poole was back in and for the second game in a row the Warriors had the minimum amount of healthy bodies needed to play an NBA game.
Wiggins said that while it looks tough to play with just eight players, it’s not awful considering the age of the team:
“I’ve been in this position before in Minnesota, there’s a lot of times we’d have not a lot of players, so it’s not terrible. We’re all young, you know, so I feel that we’re not getting tired that easily, we’re just playing through everything.”
They stuck with the same zero-point guard starting lineup, with Damion Lee tasked with running the team. He didn’t fare nearly as well as he did Saturday — something that can be said about the entire squad.
After shockingly turning the ball over just 10 times without a point guard against Phoenix, the Warriors looked more like a team without a natural initiator Sunday when they had 21.
Three players had at least four turnovers in what, at times, looked like a never-ending parade of loose balls. When they weren’t coughing up the ball, the Warriors were bricking 3’s, which is also not new.
They are shooting 25 percent from downtown since the All-Star break, and are just getting blitzed in the 3-point differential.
Bradley Beal could not be stopped Sunday. Forget about forcing him to miss, his deep jumpers barely grazed rim all night.
He had 20 of his 34 in the first, and 27 at the half. He came in on a scorching streak, averaging 36.2 points in the month of February, and he’s been even better over his last four games with an average of 45 points per game on 48-percent shooting from 3.
Beal didn’t even score in the third quarter and yet the Wizards were able to outscore the Warriors 31-19 in that frame. And that was all it took to put the win away against the shorthanded Warriors.
But Beal wasn’t the only sharpshooter on the Wizards. Big man Davis Bertans lit up Golden State for 8-of-10 from 3 for 29 points.
Steve Kerr said that while the Wizards were hot, it was the Warriors defensive effort that got them hot:
“We let Beal get going right away and then we let Bertans get going in the second half. I mean they can make 20 out of 30 any night if we leave them wide open like that, they’re that kind of shooters. So, we have to be much better defensively. I’m aware we had a back-to-back, so I thought we looked tired.”
The duo of Bertans and Beal ripped the nets on 15 3’s, while the entire Warriors roster made just nine.
And take away Mychal Mulder’s 3-of-7, and the Warriors shot 28 percent from beyond the arc again Sunday. Mulder has been a sparkplug in his three games since signing a 10-day deal with the Warriors.
He followed up his 14 points against the Suns with 17 against the Wizards and continues to show off what is probably the most consistent 3-point stroke on the club right now.
Kerr has been impressed with Mulder’s poise especially considering the stakes of the 10-day contract:
“I’m impressed by not only his shooting but his defense, you know last night he took on a really good challenge with Devin Booker, tonight we put him on Beal at times and he accepts the challenge. Plays bigger than he is and when you’re on a 10-day, it feels like every play is important every shot is important. It’s not easy to relax and just go play, and I thought last night was a really good indication of what kind of competitor he is.”
In fact, all three Warriors bench players, Mulder, Poole and Eric Paschall all finished with 17. Though, it’s not the most impressive feat since they also all played starting minutes.
Another one-game road trip awaits the Warriors, as they will head out to Denver to take on the surging Nuggets. That will be followed by four more games at home to cap a stretch of nine of 11 at Chase.
Chasson Randle is expected to sign with the Warriors once he gets a signed waiver from the Chinese Basketball Association. The point guard played his college ball at Stanford two years ago, and has been averaging over 20 points per game overseas. It is not known if his deal will be a 10-day or rest-of-season contract yet.