Warriors' meeting with Wizards trumps off-court activity
WASHINGTON -- Though the focus has been on their non-trip to the White House, the Golden State Warriors have a basketball game to play while they're in Washington.
After visiting the National Museum of African American History and Culture with children from Prince George's County -- the home of Kevin Durant -- the Warriors visit the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night at Capital One Arena.
While the Warriors (47-14) awaited them in Washington, the Wizards (36-25) scored a 107-104 victory in Milwaukee on Tuesday for their third win in four games since the All-Star break.
The Wizards blew most of a 21-point first-half lead before Bradley Beal's 3-pointer gave them a 106-101 advantage with 59 seconds left.
The Bucks pulled within two and missed a chance to tie it before Beal made one of two free throws and the Bucks were unable to get off a final shot.
Beal led Washington with 21 points on 9-of-16 shooting. Otto Porter Jr. added 17 points and Markieff Morris scored 14.
"We continue to play together," center Marcin Gortat told the Washington Post, "and that's big for us. Obviously (Wednesday) is an even bigger game, so we've got to get ready."
The fourth-place Wizards are 1 1/2 games ahead of Indiana and 2 1/2 in front of the Bucks in the Eastern Conference after evening the season series Tuesday at 2-2, which might matter come playoff time.
"It was a playoff-type game," Beal told the Post. "We needed this game to tie up the series. They needed to go up, especially when it comes down to seedings, but we took full advantage of the game. (We) made plays down the stretch, and it was all about our defense getting stops when we needed to, and we hit some big shots down the stretch."
Washington improved to 10-3 without point guard John Wall.
The Warriors have won three straight since the All-Star break and six of seven overall.
Their latest win came Monday night in New York when they broke open a close game with a dominant third quarter.
Down by one at halftime, the Warriors outscored New York 39-18 in the third. They shot 12-for-19 from the field, including 7-for-10 from 3-point range, and held the Knicks to seven field goals in the period.
It was the seventh time this season the Warriors have outscored an opponent by at least 20 points in the third.
"Our third quarters have been great all year," coach Steve Kerr told the San Francisco Chronicle. "It is not like we are doing anything different. I think we wear teams down a little bit."
Klay Thompson (26 points) and Kevin Durant (22) led the Warriors, who shot 51.8 percent from the field. Stephen Curry had 14 of his 21 points in the third quarter.
"I still don't have an answer about the third quarter except we wear teams down," Curry told the Chronicle. "We come out of the halftime with some juice and energy. It is winning time."
In the teams' first meeting, the Warriors trailed by 10 at home after three quarters, but rallied for a 120-117 win Oct. 27. Durant led the Warriors with 31 points and 11 rebounds. Porter had 29 points and 10 rebounds for Washington.
Updated February 28, 2018