BY DANIEL GLUSKOTER
Despite looking sluggish for most of the game and losing their emotional leader because of a fracas just before halftime, the Warriors stepped up when it counted most and rallied late in the fourth quarter for a come from behind 120-117 win over the Washington Wizards Friday night at Oracle Arena.
Trailing by as many as 18 points in the third quarter, the Warriors rode a 31 point, 11 rebound effort from Kevin Durant to the victory after being down for most of the game. But it certainly wasn’t easy against one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference.
Steph Curry added 20 points including a trio of three’s while Klay Thompson scored 18. David West also had a big game off the bench, scoring 16 points in only 15 minutes of action.
After the game, much of the talk revolved around the scrum that Draymond Green and Bradley Beal engaged in with only 19.5 seconds remaining in the first half that resulted in both of their departures from the game. Beal was ejected for clearly being the instigator, grabbing Green around his neck, while the Warriors forward had the misfortune of being tossed due to also picking up an earlier technical for disputing an offensive foul.
While Warriors coach Steve Kerr stated the obvious that his team was winning games but not living up to their potential, he also stated “We’re the defending champs and we’re taking a lot of good shots here early on and we are still not ready. I was proud of the guys for fighting back and getting the win, but we literally forgot five plays coming out of timeouts tonight. Five different times we draw up a play, we come out and guys are looking like ‘What are we in ?’ We are not focused.”
But Kerr also managed to find a silver lining in Green’s ejection, saying “To be perfectly blunt, I wanted to play Looney and wanted to play Casspi. I didn’t want it to be that way, but it worked out well for us in terms of our development and our growth and our ability to give guys an opportunity to play.
Beal meanwhile opined on his encounter with Green. ”We just got into it and things got out of hand and we both got ejected. I told my teammates I can’t put myself in a situation like that to leave them out there to battle it out against a tough team without me out there. As soon as it happened at halftime I apologized and I apologized again after the game because it’s unacceptable by me, for sure. I’ve got to show better leadership and better control.”
Whether the team is still recovering from a shortened preseason revolved around the rigors of their trip to China or just getting reaccustomed to to facing their opponents best shot every game, the Warriors are off to a 4-2 start with the best talent in the NBA and plenty of time to gel.
Otto Porter Jr. paced the Wizards with 29 points and 10 rebounds, while John Wall chipped in 20 along with handing out 14 assists.
Next up for the Warriors are the Detroit Pistons, who will visit Oracle on Sunday night.