Two months ago, John Wall vocalized his belief that Washington is on the same level as the top teams in the Eastern Conference. Wednesday night’s 144-122 loss to Golden State sent a much different message.
It was the most points allowed by a Washington team since 1992. Stephen Curry torched the Wizards for 51 points, including a stretch in which he scored 18 points in under five minutes.
There was nothing Washington could do, and they knew. When Curry connected on his 11th triple from 31 feet over the stretched out arm of Wall, Curry turned and shrugged as if to say ‘that’s all you got.’
With four minutes in the third quarter, after Beal broke up an attempted alley-oop, Curry shot from 31 feet out on the left wing. Swoosh.
Curry’s 11 threes tie the most ever allowed by a Washington team, a record set by ... Stephen Curry against the Wizards in 2016.
The former unanimous MVP now has 33 threes through his first five games, an NBA record to start a season. He broke his own record from 2015-16 when he had 28 threes after five games. Curry also has 13 more than his other 13 teammates combined, needing 18 fewer attempts.
“When he’s hot, he’s hot,” Wall said. “With the game of basketball, we’ve seen him do it for so many years now, so it’s like he’s going to make shots from here and there at times. But you just have to keep playing and move on.”
When Beal was asked how to stop him, he brought up a desperate approach. “Probably foul the shit out of him,” he said. “That’s probably what we should have done and even when we did that, he was making them. So, I don’t know.”
Kevin Durant put a quiet 30 himself, but it was clear, Curry’s dominance affected the Wizards mentality on defense. In the fourth quarter, after a Kelly Oubre airball, nobody picked up Durant in transition as he waltzed in for a dunk.
Washington’s vulnerability on defense without a suitable rim-protecting big has been the story of the season to date. Wednesday night, the Warriors put all their defensive flaws on display for everyone to see.
As the Wizards get ready to face the Kings, Clippers, and Grizzlies to finish off their five-game road trip, they can take positives out of knowing its offense is clicking and will only get better in time. However as they take on lesser competition the rest of the way, they can’t forget how Golden State reminded them of how far they still have to go get on their level.