Wizards visit Warriors looking to capitalize on recent wins
The Washington Wizards continue a season-long, six-game road trip on Friday when they visit the Golden State Warriors in San Francisco.
The host Warriors snapped a three-game skid on Tuesday, outlasting the Milwaukee Bucks 122-121. Two-time former Most Valuable Player Steph Curry shot 14-of-21 from the floor and 5-of-10 from 3-point range to score 41 points.
“He’s playing with a ton of confidence,” Golden State coach Steve Kerr said of Curry in his postgame press conference. “Ever since the day I got here, I’ve never seen him not play with confidence. I think the biggest thing for me watching him is he just looks stronger, physically stronger than ever.”
Curry missed all but five games in the 2019-20 season due to a broken hand. With Curry’s backcourt mate and All-Star Klay Thompson out for the season with a torn right Achilles, Kerr has been cautious with Curry’s minutes.
Against one of the leading contenders in the Eastern Conference, Milwaukee, and with the Warriors in the mix for a spot in the Western Conference play-in tournament, Curry played 38 minutes, including an extended period of the fourth quarter.
“Steph and I had talked earlier in the game about extending his minutes a little bit. We got two days off and he’s really feeling much better,” Kerr said.
While the Bucks were down their two-time reigning MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Washington comes to town with another former MVP leading the way.
Russell Westbrook — winner of the 2016-17 season award while in Oklahoma City — recorded his 20th triple-double of the 2020-21 campaign in the Wizards’ 131-116 win over the Orlando Magic on Wednesday.
Westbrook finished with 23 points, 15 assists and 14 rebounds in what was his sixth triple-double in the past seven games. He is now only 15 behind Oscar Robertson for most in NBA history.
The Wizards’ win, which snapped a four-game losing streak, marked the return of Bradley Beal. The NBA’s leading scorer missed the previous five games with a hip injury.
He scored 26 points on Wednesday, a little more than five shy of his season average, but his 4-of-6 shooting from 3-point range gave a needed boost to an offense that ranks No. 27 in the NBA in 3-point percentage and No. 28 in 3-pointers made.
“I believe in our guys being able to make threes. Unfortunately, we haven’t made them enough,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said in his postgame press conference. “I don’t anticipate us going forward making 19 every game, but I know we can step up and make them.”
With Beal back and second-year forward Rui Hachimura returning to the lineup from a brief absence with a shoulder injury, Washington is the closest to full strength it has been for much of the season.
The Wizards sit 3.5 games behind Chicago for the No. 10 spot and last play-in tournament berth in the Eastern Conference. They are tied with Cleveland and 1.5 games behind Toronto.
Golden State is two games ahead of New Orleans in 10th in the Western Conference, and a game behind San Antonio for the No. 9 spot.
–Field Level Media