Wizards-Warriors Preview

BY foxsports • March 28, 2016

Washington is in the midst of an Eastern Conference chase to get back to the playoffs for a third straight season. The only team Golden State has had to pursue all season is an Eastern Conference ghost.

The Warriors can match their single-season win record and join Chicago as the only franchise to win at least 67 games in consecutive seasons Tuesday night against the Wizards, who are playing the second of a five-game West Coast swing that could effectively send their season to an early grave.

Golden State (66-7) reached 67 wins in its final game last season, and repeating the feat has been a formality for some time. What's looking more and more like a formality now is the all-time league record. Chicago went a record-setting 72-10 in 1995-96 - 65-8 through 73 games - and followed it up with a 69-win campaign.

For the Warriors to not reach 73 wins, they'd have to lose at least three of their last nine. They haven't lost three in less than an 11-game span all season, so the more pressing question might be if they'll get to 74-8 to match the Bulls' record 141 wins over a two-season span.

They've long since passed Chicago's former record of 44 straight home wins, and Golden State's run stands at 53 after Sunday's 117-105 win over Philadelphia.

Klay Thompson scored 40 points for a second straight game for the first time in his career, then caught some lighthearted flack from his teammates for the 80-point span being accompanied by one assist. It's been such a smooth ride for this team that it's started fabricating inner strife.

"Y'all are excited about the 80 points, I'm more concerned about the one assist in two games," said Draymond Green, who recorded his franchise-record 12th triple-double with 13 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists. "I think you've got to try to do that. We've been in here messing with Klay, 'You can't make a mistake and get an assist?'"

Thompson has averaged 37.3 points in his last three games and has hit 28 of 45 from 3-point range (62.2 percent) in his previous four as part of the Splash Brothers' own record. Thompson (253) and Stephen Curry (350) have 603 combined 3s, the most by a pair of teammates in a season.

Curry, already the first NBA player with 300 3s in a season, has nine games left to chase 400. He averages exactly five makes per game, so he's on pace for 395, but that could spike against the Wizards given his latest performance in the series.

Like plenty of the East, the Wizards are winless against the Warriors since the start of last season, going 0-3 with an average losing margin of 17.0 points. That includes a 134-121 final in Washington on Feb. 3 behind Curry's 51 and 11 of 15 from outside.

While Golden State competes against the peak of a dynasty for another few weeks, the Wizards (36-37) are merely going at it with the present-day Bulls and Detroit for the No. 8 seed. The Pistons hold a 2 1/2-game edge over Washington, which is seeking its first four-game road winning streak of the season.

The Wizards started the trip with Sunday's 101-88 win over the Los Angeles Lakers while shooting 54.2 percent. It was their third game at 50.0 or better in the last four, but they've balanced that lately by averaging 17.7 turnovers over the previous three.

John Wall had 22 points and 13 assists against the Lakers for a career-best ninth straight double-double, but that came with seven turnovers.

"There's a lot to play for," said Wall, who's averaged 4.28 turnovers in the last seven games with four contests of seven or more.

"Detroit has a tough schedule. Other guys have a tough schedule. All we can do is control our own destiny, try to win as many games as we can. We've got the tiebreaker against Detroit and Chicago, and plus we play Detroit one more time. We've just got to take care of our own business first."

His 41 points on 17-of-25 shooting last month against Golden State wasn't nearly enough to do so.

share story