OAKLAND — Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson said before his team faced the Washington Wizards on Tuesday night that John Wall deserved to be on the Eastern Conference All-Star team.
He may want to add the other half of Washington's terrific backcourt tandem, too.
Bradley Beal scored 18 of his 20 points in the second half, and Wall had 15 points and eight rebounds while making some big plays late to lead the Wizards past the Warriors 88-85.
"I just kept shooting. I had amnesia, and I wasn't getting down on myself in the first half because I got good looks and I was taking what the defense was giving me and the shots that I wanted," Wall said. "I didn't lose my confidence or anything like that. I knew in the second half I had to step up for this team to be able to win."
In a matchup of two of the NBA's best young backcourts, Washington's guard duo outplayed and outhustled Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson when it mattered most.
Beal, who was 1-of-7 shooting in the first half, finished 8 of 19 from the floor to go with seven rebounds and four assists. Wall hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 1:28 remaining, and the Wizards forced the Warriors into several difficult shots in the closing moments.
"It wasn't a pretty game by either team I'm sure offensively, but these are the kind of games our defense can win for us," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said.
Stephen Curry scored 23 points before missing a contested left-handed 3-pointer as time expired, and Thompson had 13 points and six rebounds for the streaky Warriors, who have lost six of nine since winning 10 in a row.
"We've got to be better," Jackson said. "The very good teams or the great teams in this league, they take care of their business. And right now we're a team (that) if a championship-caliber team comes in here or an elite team comes in here, we play at that level. Or if a bad team or an average team comes in, then we play at that level. We are not good enough to allow who comes in here to determine how hard we play."