After struggling defensively in recent weeks, the Golden State Warriors slowed down the NBA’s highest-scoring team their last time out.
They’ll look to continue to fortify their defensive play and knock off the visiting Washington Wizards for the seventh straight time Tuesday night.
The Warriors (27-18), who are 10-3 against Eastern Conference clubs, had dropped five of seven while opponents averaged 108.4 points on 47.8 percent shooting. They had been holding teams to 98.3 points and a 42.9 field-goal percentage.
Golden State appeared to get back on track in a 103-88 victory over Portland on Sunday, ending a three-game home skid in a performance coach Mark Jackson said was "just what the doctor ordered." The Trail Blazers came in averaging a league-leading 109.5 points but were held to a season-low point total and shooting percentage (33.7).
All-Star Stephen Curry scored 38 points but may have had a bigger impact on the other end of the floor, contributing to a 5-of-16 shooting performance by Damian Lillard.
"We understand that’s been one of our problems – just letting teams kind of cake walk around on the offensive end doing whatever they want to do early in the game," Curry said.
Despite showing promise at times, the Wizards (21-22) continue to be plagued by a tendency to play to their opponent’s level. A 104-101 loss at Utah on Saturday saw them squander their sixth chance this season to go over the .500 mark for the first time since starting 2-1 in 2009-10. Only one of their defeats in those games came against a club with a winning record.
Washington had won five of six away from home before starting guards John Wall and Bradley Beal combined to go 9 of 30 with 27 points.
"We were running in mud half the game, in my opinion," coach Randy Wittman said. "We wouldn’t commit ourselves to our pace."
Though it didn’t cost the Wizards in Friday’s 101-95 win over Phoenix, their bench endured another rough outing with 18 points on 7-of-19 shooting against Utah. Washington reserves were 5 of 20 with 11 points versus the Suns after averaging 29.9 points on 53.6 percent shooting over the previous seven games.
The Wizards have one of the league’s least productive benches, averaging 24.8 points.
While Washington’s reserves outscored Golden State’s 51-27, a strong third quarter lifted the Warriors – last in the league with 22.9 points per game off the bench – to a 112-96 win in Washington on Jan. 5. Golden State outscored the Wizards 34-15 in the third for its 10th win in 13 meetings.
Klay Thompson scored 26 and went 6 of 9 from 3-point range to pick up Curry, who was 5 of 17 from the field with 14 points. Curry shot 52.3 percent over his first seven matchups, hitting 22 of 47 from beyond the arc.
Thompson is averaging 21.3 points and has hit 18 of 30 3s in his four career meetings with Washington. Golden State is shooting 46.6 percent from long range during its six-game win streak in the series.
Wall and Beal struggled in the last meeting, totaling 23 points on 8-of-26 shooting.
David Lee, who had 17 points and 12 rebounds Sunday despite playing with a sprained left shoulder, is averaging 21.2 points and 12.8 rebounds over his last 13 games against the Wizards.