home Blogs, Game Coverage Game Notebook 57, Wizards vs. Warriors: Reeling Wiz Torched by Curry; 26 Turnovers

Game Notebook 57, Wizards vs. Warriors: Reeling Wiz Torched by Curry; 26 Turnovers

Warriors 114
Wizards 107

February 24, 2015 – Verizon Center, Washington, DC

The Wizards finally played with the energy we’ve been looking for. Coach Randy Wittman said after the game, “that’s the hardest we’ve played in weeks.”

Paul Pierce scored 24 points, including a 3rd quarter in which he matched a scorching hot Stephen Curry point for point. The Wizards as a team shot 53% from the field. John Wall had another double-double, with 16 points and 10 assists. The Wizards got double-digit contributions from Garrett Temple and Kevin Seraphin, each scoring 10 points.

And the Wizards lost.

Pop Quiz! Question: How do you lose a game when you shoot 53% from the field?

Answer: 26 turnovers. TWENTY-SIX!

That’s twenty-six extra possessions against the best team in basketball. And for once, we can’t take the blame off our beloved John Wall. Instead of #OptimusDime, tonight he was #MegaTurnover, committing eight turnovers of his own.

The Wizards came out of the gate with the energy and effort we expect every night, jumping out to a 9-0 lead. However, the Warriors were able to close the gap quickly, with the help of nine Wizards 1st quarter turnovers, and courtesy of Stephen Curry. Before the game, Curry went through his thorough pregame warm-up routine. During the game, he put it into action, starting in the 1st quarter, with passes like this:

And “smh” inspiring shots like this:

Curry had 13 after one, and despite that 9-0 start, the Warriors had the lead, but the lead woud’ve been greater without John Wall.

The 2nd quarter started shaky. With the Wizards bench unable to match the Warriors bench, the Warriors began to build a steady lead. After shooting a scorching 57% in the first quarter, the Wizards began to cool down. Except for the turnovers. The Wizards continued to commit those at a torrid pace, finishing with nine more 2nd quarter turnovers. But with the game teetering on edge, a hero came to the rescue in a most unlikely form:

Garrett Temple!

That block brought the crowd to their feet, and Temple finished the possession on the other end with a three from the right wing, providing a huge five point swing that helped keep the Wizards in the game.

At the half, the Warriors led 54-51. The Wizards ended the half shooting 53%, but neutralized their own tremendous shooting with EIGHTEEN first half turnovers [Spoiler: more on this to come].

The 3rd quarter opened with a Stephen Curry triple, a bad sign of things to come. The teams exchanged some spurts and then Paul Pierce (already in the “phone booth”) tore off his cape and went full Superman mode!

Pierce, going at his own steady, controlled pace, drew fouls and hit midrange jumpers to the tune of 14 3rd quarter points. Thanks to Pierce, it looked as if the Wizards might go in to the 4th with the lead. But as Stephen Curry would say after the game, “I like [the 3rd] quarter. Just try to be aggressive…closing out quarters is huge for us.” And close out the quarter he would. Steph would drop seven points in one minute, culminating with the type of move even the road crowd loved.

So after Pierce and Curry dueled the 3rd quarter to a draw, the Wizards would head to the 4th trailing 86-83.

Now, if I had told you before the game that the Wizards would head to the 4th quarter just 3 points down to the best team in the NBA, you probably would’ve taken it. Then again, if I had told you the Wizards would be 33-24 at this point in the season, you probably would’ve taken that too. But with the turnover bug biting the Wizards badly, it felt like things could’ve been so much better.

And as the 4th quarter progressed, the inevitable began to become clear. The Wizards hung tough, with John Wall doing everything he could to keep the Wizards close (and with Marcin Gortat again benched for the duration of the 4th).

But alas, it was not to be. The Warriors answered each big Wizards basket, and Stephen Curry provided one final dagger to seal the Wizard fate.

To add injury to insult, Paul Pierce limped off the floor after the game. However, he sounded optimistic about his prospects to not miss any time.

In the end, it was another Wizards loss, 114-107, leaving the Wizards winless since the All-Star break, and losers of nine of their last 11 games. The Wizards would finish the game shooting 53%, but allowing the Warriors to shoot 52% (12/23) from the three point line. Curry threw fire once again, finishing with 32 points.

And the turnovers!! After the game, that’s all Coach Wittman wanted to discuss.

He stressed the great energy level, but repeatedly harped on the 26 total turnovers that resulted in 26 extra possessions and 11 extra shot attempts for the NBA best Golden State Warriors.

One thing he did not want to discuss was Gortat again not seeing the floor in the money quarter. When asked about Gortat not playing, he tersely stated, “that’s my decision, not yours.”

So where do we go from here? Well, there were a lot of positives to take from this game. We saw what the Wizards can do when they play with the effort required on both ends. For most of the game, they looked like a quality team that can hang with the best teams in the league.

But we also so the ugly, sloppy side. The turnovers and lapses in focus that prevent the Wizards from actually WINNING the games against the best teams. Their effort tonight, even with the turnovers, would’ve beaten 90 percent of teams in the NBA. But the Warriors are not every team, so once again, the Wizards walk off the floor with a loss.

But at least after this loss, they can hold their heads up. They don’t have to be ashamed of their effort on either end, or their general ineptitude. They can take solace in the fact that this is a game they really COULD have won, and took control of losing it themselves with all their turnovers.

You’re going to hear the phrase “moral victory” a lot regarding this game. Which is bad, because “moral victories” are for losers. But we have to take it, because right now, that’s the only victory the Wizards can get.

On to Minnesota…

we are Hoop District

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