6:00 PM ET, January 5, 2014
Verizon Center, Washington, DC
WASHINGTON -- There were no sports channel highlight shows the last time the Golden State Warriors won nine in a row in the same season. Even if there were, the top-10 compilers surely would have been hard-pressed to find a Gus Williams-to-Rick Barry moment that looked anything like the off-the-backboard play executed Sunday night by Stephen Curry and Andrew Bogut.
The Warriors pulled away by turning a tie game at halftime into a laugher in the third quarter, opening the period with a 30-5 run that included a sequence in which Curry drove into the paint and sent the ball flying out of his hand and off the glass. The carom went right to a leaping Bogut, who timed the play perfectly for a dunk, then stared at his right hand with mouth agape as he ran down court.
"I didn't know what was going on," Bogut said. "I didn't know if he was shooting or throwing a lob, but I kind of knew it was a bad shot if it was a shot. I just tried to get where the ball was coming."
Curry had a got-away-with-it smile after the play. He described it as something that happened, well, accidentally on purpose.
"I made a decision to pick my dribble up and look for Bogut. Whoever was guarding him made a decision to stay with him, and my only option was to stick my hand out at the last second to redirect it," Curry said. "Thankfully it hit the right spot on the backboard, and Bogue made a quick reaction to go up. We've never done that before, so it was nice that it worked out."
The Warriors hadn't won nine straight in the same season since a 10-game run from Dec. 6-23, 1975. They also had a nine-game regular season winning streak that overlapped the 1990-91 and 1991-92 seasons.
Golden State is 5-0 on its season-long, seven-game, 13-day road trip and moved into a tie with the Los Angeles Clippers atop the Pacific Division. The last time the Warriors led a division this late in season was on March 2, 1992.
"It puts into perspective the history of this franchise, and how far in a short period we've been able to turn it around," Golden State coach Mark Jackson said, "with great moves by ownership, by management, spectacular players that have bought in. And now the thing is sustaining it."
Curry and Thompson topped John Wall and Bradley Beal in the battle of the two highest-scoring backcourts in the NBA. Curry scored 14 points on 5-for-17 shooting, but the league's most turnover-prone player had 10 assists and only two giveaways. Thompson was 9 for 14 from the field, including 6 for 9 from 3-point range.
David Lee added 21 points and 11 rebounds, and Bogut finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Wall had 14 points and 10 assists, but he shot 4 for 11, including 1 for 5 in the crucial third quarter. Beal, who remains on a minutes restriction because of a left leg injury, scored nine points and 4-for-15 shooting. The Wizards made only 6 of 21 shots in the third quarter, and they hit bottom when Nene committed two backcourt bad-pass turnovers in a span of six seconds.
"Awful," Washington coach Randy Wittman said. "The third quarter? Until we can learn to play through missed shots and not zap your own energy and the energy of your teammates, we're going to play like that. We're too much right now a team of front-runners."
Nene scored 14 points for the Wizards, who have lost three straight and four of six.
"We're not coming out with energy," Beal said. "I think sometimes we feel like we're down 20 when it's a tie game."
Warriors F Draymond Green sprained his left ankle and is day to day. ... There was a bizarre call in the first half when Wall crashed into Bogut in the lane. Bogut was initially whistled for a block, but officials conferred during a timeout and ruled that fouls were committed by both players -- leading to a jump ball at center court. ... Jackson on whether he's developed any superstitions during the winning streak: "I don't believe in superstitions. I call it `stupid-stition."
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WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 5: Marcin Gortat #4 of the Washington Wizards enters the court during pre-game...(Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)
Around The Association
MVP: Klay Thompson put up the team-high in points (26), but David Lee's 21 and 11 helped set the tone for the Warriors early and was key in opening up the perimeter. Twelve of Lee's points came in the third quarter when no one on the Wizards, from Nene to Jan Vesely, could stop him.
LVP: Washington's Bradley Beal is now 14-for-44 from the field so far in the new year. Golden State allowed Beal all the looks from midrange he wanted, and that's the inefficient shot he often settled for. Beal has also attempted only one free throw, a miss, through three games in 2014.
X factor: Andre Iguodala switched to guard Beal more in the second half and completely shut him down. Beal shot 4-for-6 in the first quarter when Klay Thompson mostly checked him. Over the rest of the night, Beal shot 0-for-9 from the field.
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