Good defence takes Warriors closer

Golden State's Stephen Curry shoots as Washington's Garrett Temple (right) fails to block him during the Warriors' 102-94 win in Oakland. The Warriors need six wins in their final eight games to break Chicago's regular-season record of 72.
Golden State's Stephen Curry shoots as Washington's Garrett Temple (right) fails to block him during the Warriors' 102-94 win in Oakland. The Warriors need six wins in their final eight games to break Chicago's regular-season record of 72. PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

OAKLAND (California) • The Golden State Warriors finally got their defence in high gear on Tuesday night, limiting the Washington Wizards to 41.9 per cent shooting en route to their 54th consecutive home-court win in the National Basketball Association, a 102-94 victory over an Eastern Conference play-off contender.

The Warriors, who held only four of their previous 18 opponents under 100 points, limited the Wizards to one field goal over a 9min 58sec stretch bridging the third and fourth quarters in building an insurmountable lead.

The result was Golden State's franchise record-equalling 67th win of the season.

"As you go through the season and kind of get lost in the journey, we should be able to accomplish both: Be a better team and better our record, which we're on our way to doing. For us to be playing at such a high level for two straight years and have our eyes set on the ultimate goal, it's fun," Golden State's Stephen Curry said.

He led four Warriors starters in double figures with 26 points as Golden State (67-7) pulled five games ahead of the San Antonio Spurs in the race for top seeding in the Western Conference play-offs.

The Warriors closed the first half on a 12-0 run to take a three-point half-time lead, but they were on top 72-70 after Wizards forward Markieff Morris buried a three-pointer with 2min 20sec remaining in the third period.

However, Washington made only one more field goal - a lay-up by Nene - in the following 10 minutes, during which the Warriors rolled up a 95-76 advantage with under 5:00 remaining in the game.

A fast-break lay-up by backup Jared Dudley with 4:22 to go ended a Wizards drought that saw them miss 12 of 13 shots.

The Warriors, meanwhile, went up 79-72 on a three-pointer by Draymond Green with 6.8 seconds remaining in the third period, then eased away in the fourth quarter thanks in part to Curry's sixth three-pointer of the game, one he banked in with 6:07 to go.

Curry, last season's Most Valuable Player, finished 9-of-20 from the field and 6-of-8 on three-pointers. He also found time for seven rebounds and seven assists.

Green contributed 15 points, a game-high 16 rebounds and nine assists to the win, and Klay Thompson, the reigning Western Conference Player of the Week, added 16 points.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 31, 2016, with the headline 'Good defence takes Warriors closer'. Print Edition | Subscribe