Wizards 112, Warriors 94

Instead of counting victories, Don Nelson was counting a
dwindling number of healthy players. The NBA record for most
coaching wins would have to wait.

Nelson fell way short in his first attempt at passing Lenny
Wilkens on Tuesday night. His Golden State Warriors fell behind by
double digits before the game was 3 minutes old and went on to lose
112-94 to the Washington Wizards.

“Not a very good effort,” Nelson said, “but when we start
running out of bodies … I wish I could’ve rested some guys more,
but you’ve got to have five guys on the court at all times. If I
could’ve got away with three, I would’ve done it.”

Ronny Turiaf and Monta Ellis missed the game with the flu. C.J.
Watson sat out with sore ribs. Chris Hunter, wearing a mask to
protect his broken nose, started and played more minutes than in
his last three games combined. Stephen Curry jammed his right
shoulder on the first play of the game trying to set a screen, but
he kept playing and scored 27 points before sitting for good early
in the fourth quarter.

Curry said he’ll be fine and ready to go for Nelson’s next
chance at victory No. 1,333 on Wednesday night at Minnesota.

The scene was quite a contrast from Sunday night, when Nelson’s
players danced in a circle around the coach after he tied Wilkens
with a 113-112 win over the Toronto Raptors. Against the Wizards,
all the Warriors did was position themselves for more pingpong
balls in the draft lottery.

“We thought we could have kept that momentum that we got in
Toronto and did something with it,” Curry said, “but they jumped
all over us.”

The Wizards have been just as bad as the Warriors – the teams
entered the game with identical 23-53 records – but on this night
they could do virtually whatever they wanted against an undersized
team. Nick Young scored a season-high 29 points, JaVale McGee set
career highs with 25 points and 15 rebounds, Shaun Livingston
matched a career-high with 21 points on 9-for-11 shooting, and
Andray Blatche added 21 points, giving the Wizards four 20-point
scorers for the first time since December 2007.

“It’s like (facing) a 6-8 and under team,” Livingston said,
“we did what we were supposed to do.”

The Wizards took a 15-2 lead and never looked back, setting
season highs for points in the first quarter (40) and first half
(68). They shot 52 percent, scored 52 points in the paint and
outrebounded the Warriors 35-15 in the first half and 52-31 for the
game. Washington has won three of four, including two straight for
the first time since mid-February.

“What’s that? We’ve won three out of four is it?” Blatche
said. “It feels good to win three out of four, I ain’t going to
lie, man, to go out there and play with energy, effort. We’re all
playing with a meaning now.”

The Warriors had won two straight to get Nelson even with
Wilkens, and another victory would have given them their first
three-game winning streak of the season.

“We’re a little tired,” Nelson said. “I changed up on them,
took them to the White House today. That’s a lot of walking,
standing around, but I still think it was a good thing for those
guys to experience. If that had something to do with our demise
tonight, I would accept that responsibility. I still think it was a
good thing to do.”

Notes: Maybe it was for the best that Nelson didn’t break the
record. The setting was hardly one for a historic moment, with the
Verizon Center about two-thirds empty at tipoff before the crowd
grew to an announced attendance of 14,721. … President Barack
Obama happened to be home when the Warriors visited the White
House. “Didn’t get a chance to chat with him, but we saw him. He
was out sunning around noon and reading. … My wife supported
Obama and worked for him and set it up,” Nelson said. … McGee is
the first Wizards player to get 25 and 15 off the bench since Dan
Roundfield had 29 and 16 against Atlanta on April 4, 1986.