Washington Wizards Three Takeaways: Wizards Upset Kevin Durant Less Golden State Warriors At Home

Feb 28, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) dribbles the ball past Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) in the second quarter at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 28, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) dribbles the ball past Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) in the second quarter at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /

Washington Wizards got their most significant victory of the season on Tuesday night, upsetting the Kevin Durant-less Golden State Warriors at home.

Kevin Durant‘s return home in a Golden State Warriors uniform brought much fanfare to the DMV area.

The D.C. native, who refused to chat with the Washington Wizards during his time as a free agent this past summer, injured his knee two minutes into the first quarter against his hometown team on Tuesday night.

Golden State, loaded with All-Stars, found themselves down by 14 points after the first quarter as the Wizards took a page out of their opponent’s book, drilling shots from deep with seemingly no end.

But the Wizards would eventually cool down and the Warriors took advantage.

Washington’s offense inevitably stagnated and the Warriors put together stops, leading to baskets on the other end. They gained a lead of their own in the fourth quarter, but ball movement made the key difference for Washington, closing their most significant victory of the season against the league’s best, 112-108.

Keef and Porter bounce back

During the Washington Wizards’ two game skid following All-Star break, both Otto Porter and Markieff Morris struggled to find their rhythm from deep. The forwards found their stroke, but the break took them out of it.

Against the Warriors, Morris and Porter made 4 of their 8 combined 3-point attempts.

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Morris made a 3-point shot late in the fourth quarter to give Washington the lead. His physicality also helped negate Draymond Green‘s production. Both players went back and forth most of the game, but Morris never got shaken up.

For a while, the Wizards were reluctant to add players with an edge, but every team needs someone who can counter the opposition’s most intimidating player. Morris is that player.

Porter also grabbed 8 rebounds, continuing to fill up the box score.

Their skill-sets don’t make them go-to options, but Morris and Porter do the little things to make a key difference, especially down the stretch.

Keeping Steph in check

When Durant limped to the locker room, the Stephen Curry light bulb immediately went off.

Golden State has figured out how to maximize the talents of three elite scorers at the same time, but there’s something particularly interesting about their individual capabilities.

Curry, surprisingly, didn’t “go off” after Durant got hurt. Instead, the Washington Wizards kept him in check, especially on the perimeter.

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Even when the guards were forced to switch off Curry, leaving a big-man on the league’s best ball handler, the Wizards were able to contest shots.

Washington held Curry to to 9 of 20 shooting. He made just 2 of his 9 attempts from three.

Better yet, the Wizards harassed Curry on the perimeter, forcing him to lose the ball 5 times. Curry had just 4 assists on the night.

Their constant double-teaming led to turnovers, which led to fastbreak points on the other end.

Washington gave up some easy looks inside the paint in the process, but it resulted in a win.

Bogey and Mahinmi give the bench a boost

Whether it makes sense or not, Mahinmi is going to get playing time over Jason Smith for the rest of the season. Washington paid $64 million for his services and they’re going to use them, even if the team doesn’t necessarily benefit.

Mahinmi, though, has slowly been coming around. He’s beginning to move faster than he did coming off the knee surgery, but he’s also learning the team’s spacing.

He scored 6 points and grabbed 6 rebounds in 16 minutes. And perhaps to Scott Brooks‘ biggest pleasure, Mahinmi altered some shots inside and snagged important rebounds when Marcin Gortat got into early foul trouble.

Bojan Bogdanovic continued to provide a scoring spark off the bench, totaling 16 points in 24 minutes. He shared the court with the starters as Washington’s lacked a creative backup guard, but that could change soon with Brandon Jennings coming to town.

Next: Why Jennings Is Better Than Burke

Washington will start their mini-series with the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday. They’ll meet the Raptors in Toronto on Wednesday, then again in D.C. on Friday. After beating the Warriors, it’s safe to say the momentum is on Washington’s side.