Washington Wizards: Over the last few years, the Wizards have played the Warriors tough at home

Washington Wizards, Bradley Beal (Photo by Icon Sportswire)
Washington Wizards, Bradley Beal (Photo by Icon Sportswire) /

Recently, whenever the Golden State Warriors come into town, the Washington Wizards have risen to the occasion.

Even though the Golden State Warriors have won three of the last four NBA championships, the Washington Wizards haven’t phased when they’re hosting. The two teams will face off again on Thursday night at Capital One Arena as the Wizards look to continue building on their momentum.

To put it into context: Dating back to the 2014-2015 season, when the Warriors won their first title under the current dynasty, the two teams’ contests in Washington have decided by an average of just eight points per game. The Warriors lead the series 1-3 over that span, but the games have always been close.

Let’s go game by game.

February 24, 2015: Wizards lose 114-107

This game was within reach for the Wizards almost the entire time, trailing by just three points heading into the fourth quarter. The Warriors eventually pulled away thanks to Stephen Curry‘s 32 points, but not without a fight.

Although it may not seem like that long ago, 2015 is a bit of a time travel. The Wizards leading scorer? Paul Pierce with 25 points. John Wall chipped in with 16 points and 11 assists. Another indication of how far back it was: Otto Porter was a DNP-CD.

February 3, 2016: Wizards lose 134-121

One of the more exciting Wizards regular season games in recent years came when the Warriors were at the peak of their power. The Wizards, struggling at 21-25 at that point, matched the mighty Warriors, who were 45-4.

The game went back and forth and the crowd was absolutely electric as Wall and Curry battled one another. Curry knocked down 11 three-pointers en route to 51 points; Wall wasn’t too far behind with 41 points of his own and 10 assists. All of that overshadowed a triple-double from Draymond Green.

February 28, 2017: Wizards win 112-108

In his first game in his hometown since signing with the Warriors, Kevin Durant didn’t see much action. He got injured in the first minute and 30 seconds and never returned. Nevertheless, the Warriors played the rest of the game with their three All-Stars from the year before: Curry, Green, and Klay Thompson.

The game was tied going into the fourth quarter, but with Durant out, the Wizards came up big in the closing minutes to make sure they seized the win at home.

Bradley Beal lead the way with 25 points and Markieff Morris had 22. Even the recently acquired Bojan Bogdanovic contributed with 16 points off the bench. Wall had just 12 points, but finished with 19 assists.

This was the Wizards’ best season in decades, and having a win over the Warriors was part of that magic.

February 28, 2018: Wizards lose 109-101

The Warriors were at full strength in this one with all four of their All-Stars suited up, while the Wizards were without Wall. Yet, once again though, the Wizards didn’t let that intimate them, trailing by just two points at halftime.

The Warriors separated themselves a bit in the second half, but the Wizards fought until the end despite no Wall and Beal’s off-night of just 8 points.  The team rode Porter’s 29 points and Kelly Oubre Jr.‘s 17, but it was too much to overcome Durant and Curry’s 32 and 25 points, respectively.

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Thursday’s game will introduce another new character into the mix: DeMarcus Cousins, who recently returned from injury and is finding his place in the lineup. If recent history has taught us anything though, it’s that even when the Wizards are shorthanded and clearly below the Warriors’ talent level, don’t count them out. At a minimum, they’ll make it entertaining.