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Wizards unable to keep up with Warriors, 109-101
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Behind a strong defensive effort and Kevin Durant's 32 points, the Warriors beat the Wizards 109-101 on Wednesday night. Otto Porter Jr. tied a season-high with 29 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Wizards, but Washington only shot 40.0% from the field and turned it over 18 times for 26 Warriors points.
Playing the defending champion Warriors is never an easy task, especially on the second part of a back-to-back. Considering they trailed by as many as 16 and double digits numerous times throughout the game, the Wizards showed fight to get back in the game and even take a lead late in the second quarter.
Durant, who finished 12-of-20 from the field, scored 16 of his 32 points in the opening quarter. Despite Porter's 11 points in the first, the Warriors would hold the Wizards to 34.8% shooting and take a 36-21 lead into the second quarter.
The script flipped in the second quarter for the Wizards, who would go on a 17-6 run to take a 53-52 lead with 1:22 remaining in the first half. Fueled by the team's second unit, the Wizards stringed together stops and caught fire in the second quarter to only trail by two points at the half.
Porter had 18 at the half, while Markieff Morris had 10 of his 16 points in the first 24 minutes. Bradley Beal did not score in the first half, going 0-for-7 from the field with two turnovers. Still, considering John Wall remains out and Beal struggled all game, the Wizards showed poise and fight to remain within striking distance.
The Warriors, the league's best third quarter team, held the Wizards to 28.6% shooting in the third and forced seven Wizards turnovers. The Warriors went on a 14-4 run to begin the third, shooting 55.6% in the third and dominating the Wizards defensively.
“We just got stagnant," Porter said of the third quarter. "We were just trying to figure out what they were going to do, especially in pick-in-roll. They went small and they started to switch a lot. That kind of threw us off. We were able to get some good-looking shots, but we just couldn’t knock them down.”
The Wizards would bring the game within six points in the closing minutes, but the Warriors held their lead from there. Kelly Oubre Jr. had nine of his 17 in the fourth, while the Warriors made 9-of-10 free throws to seal the deal.
Washington held Stephen Curry to 5-of-15 shooting and six turnovers, but Curry got to the line 12 times. Klay Thompson only made three of his first nine shots, but hit two big shots in the fourth quarter.
Ultimately, Beal's poor offensive night of eight points on 3-of-15 shooting and eight turnovers were tough to overcome, but the Wizards were never out of the game. Turnovers hurt Washington, especially in the second half, though the team still assisted on 25 of 36 field goals. Considering the Wizards were on a back-to-back after getting home late Tuesday night from Milwaukee, the team showed fight against the defending champions.
"Our starters just couldn't get a nice rhythm," Scott Brooks said postgame. "Brad (Beal) usually doesn't have a game like he had tonight. We will bounce back. I am confident in our guys. We didn't give in, we just had a tough night; third quarter really. We talked about it before the game, we talked about it at halftime and we knew how they would play in that the third quarter. We had some careless turnovers and some bad defensive lapse.”
The Wizards' homestand will continue on Friday, as they host the Raptors at 8:00pm (NBC Sports Washington and ESPN, 1500AM).