The Golden State Warriors certainly didn’t reach their peak against the Washington Wizards, and perhaps rightfully so. Not only were they playing on the second leg of a rare matinee back-to-back on Sunday, but the defending champions were missing Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala and Jonathan Kuminga. Frustrating as another loss to an inferior foe would’ve been, it definitely wouldn’t have been surprising—especially once the game tipped off, Golden State looking a step slow.
But the Warriors’ best players had other plans, ones that didn’t involve squandering the opportunity to enter the toughest stretch of their ongoing road trip with some palpable and much-needed momentum.
Golden State beat Washington 127-118 on Sunday, with Stephen Curry and Draymond Green leading a spirited fourth quarter charge. The reigning Finals MVP scored 12 points and drained all three of his triples in the final stanza, while his longtime teammate came alive for 11 points, two rebounds and four assists, making all the impactful defensive plays that eluded him early.
“Steph and Draymond led the way. Steph was incredible down the stretch with his shot-making and Draymond with his defense and playmaking,” Steve Kerr said after the game. “I thought everybody out there was battling in the fourth quarter—Wiggs, Lamb, JP. It was not our best night defensively, but we made stops when we had to and Steph really took over in the fourth quarter.”
Curry received MVP chants from Capital One Arena late in the game, the crowd still buzzing over his singular fourth-quarter shot-making.
Steph Curry is UNREAL 😱 pic.twitter.com/4RN3rfBakE
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) January 16, 2023
Green’s fingerprints were all over Golden State’s late-game success, too.
» https://t.co/RHUZLxzr0w pic.twitter.com/CIrF9vbMvK
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) January 16, 2023
Give this man the bag pic.twitter.com/C9rmY0bA2W
— Joe Viray (@JoeVirayNBA) January 16, 2023
Jordan Poole played extremely well for the Warriors, especially during a scintillating second quarter. Donte DiVincenzo was typically solid off the bench, changing the game defensively after halftime. Anthony Lamb had another strong outing offensively, and Andrew Wiggins at least kept fighting while still trying to find his sea legs after a month lost to injury.
But this win was Curry and Green’s more than anyone else’s, an especially encouraging sign for Golden State because the latter is clearly still coming into his own after recently returning to the floor.
“I think Steph made some strides today. Obviously in the fourth quarter he was tremendous,” Kerr said. “…As Steph has done so often, he carried us home.”