It was a memorable night at Oracle Arena, to say the least. The defending champion Warriors welcomed a Wizards team coming off a tough loss on Wednesday to the Lakers, looking for something to prove. Washington would lead the majority of the game, but Golden State, with so much talent, came back from down 18 and beat the Wizards, 120-117.
The Wizards started off hot with 34 points in the first quarter, with Otto Porter Jr. scoring 11 of his team-high 29 points in the opening 12 minutes. The team shot 53.8% from the field, but more importantly forced seven Warriors turnovers and held Golden State to 1-for-9 from beyond the arc. The Warriors would start the game 3-for-20 from deep in the first half and had scored 32 of their 53 points in the first half in the paint. Golden State only finished 10-for-38 on 3-pointers for the game, so you have to give the Wizards credit for defending the Warriors from the perimeter well for the majority of the game.
Washington ended the first half with 67 points, shooting a scorching 11-for-17 from beyond the arc after a John Wall 3-pointer ended the half on a high note. The Wizards assisted on 19 of their 24 first half field goals, while Porter (14 points), Kelly Oubre Jr. (14 points), and Marcin Gortat (12 points) led the charge scoring wise. Oubre especially may have put together his best half in his career, and he would finish with a career-high tying 19 points. Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, and Klay Thompson were held to a combined 14-for-32 in the first half, contributing to the Wizards’ 14-point lead at the half.
Unfortunately for both teams, the first half was overshadowed by a fight that broke out between Bradley Beal and Draymond Green. Both were ejected and had to be pulled apart in a big fracas, and both of their absences changed the game. The Wizards would miss Beal in the second half, especially considering the Wizards were +16 when Beal was on the court in his 15 minutes of action. Green is an All-Star and the Warriors’ best defender, but reserves like David West, Kevon Looney, and Omri Casspi stepped up in his absence.
The Wizards would stay hot coming out of the locker room, with John Wall doing the scoring and distributing. Wall finished with 20 points and 14 assists on the game. His efforts, along with Porter’s career-high seven 3-pointers, kept the Wizards in the game down the stretch offensively. Mike Scott started the second half in Beal’s place and finished the game with 14 points and seven rebounds on 4-for-7 shooting, putting together his best all-around game as a member of the Wizards. Washington scored 30 points in the third quarter, but a run at the end of the quarter would bring the Warriors back within striking distance only down 10 points heading into the fourth. Durant scored 14 points in the fourth, but the Wizards were still scorching offensively.
The Warriors put it all together in the fourth, eventually taking an 102-101 lead with 6:49 left in the game for their first lead since they led 9-8 with 9:30 left in the first. The Wizards struggled offensively, only making 7-of-25 (28.0%) shots, including 3-for-11 from beyond the arc. The Warriors outrebounded the Wizards 28-18 in the second half, and it made dividends to get back into the game. The Warriors opened up a seven-point lead with 2:40 to go after a Looney dunk, but the Wizards clawed their way back to get the game within one point after a Jodie Meeks triple with 18 seconds to go. Durant would hit two free throws and the Wizards had two chances at 3-pointers to tie the game with nine seconds left, but neither Wall nor Meeks’ shots fell.
After Friday night’s memorable game in Oakland, the Wizards head to Sacramento to close out their four-game road trip at 6:00pm.