WASHINGTON — Coach Steve Kerr’s Warriors allowed a 16-point lead to shrink to two at halftime against the Washington Wizards. Nothing that a typically dominant third quarter by the Warriors couldn’t solve.
Using a 16-4 run out of halftime, Golden State won for the seventh time in eight games by beating the Wizards 109-101 as Kevin Durant scored 32 points, Stephen Curry added 25, and Klay Thompson helped limit Bradley Beal to eight Wednesday night, a day after the Warriors took schoolkids to a museum instead of visiting President Donald Trump at the White House.
Asked for the secret to such success at the outset of the second half, Kerr couldn’t help but respond with a joke.
“Mainly fiery halftime speeches from the coach — Knute Rockne style, ‘win one for (assistant) Ron Adams’ type speeches,” Kerr said with a chuckle. “No, it’s not about adjustments. It’s about our guys, I think, just wanting to make a push coming out of the break. I can’t really explain it other than throwing that at you.”
In his team’s previous game, a win Monday at the New York Knicks, the Warriors held a 39-18 edge in the third quarter, the seventh time this season they outscored an opponent by at least 20 points.
This time, it was 27-14. Wizards coach Scott Brooks’ take on the Warriors’ dominance right after halftime?
“You could probably easily start off with saying they have four All-Stars. That’s a pretty good start. They should have a pretty good ‘every’ quarter,” Brooks said.
Beal came in averaging a team-leading 23.7 points but he missed his first nine shots and had zero points at halftime. His first basket came with under 5½ minutes left in the third quarter.
“They took a lot of my shots away. They doubled. They switched,” Beal said. “Their main objective was to take the ball out of my hands.”
A lot of the credit goes to Thompson.
“Klay did a really good job,” Kerr said. “We assign Klay with the most difficult job night after night.”
The Wizards were again without All-Star point guard John Wall, who sat out his 14th game in a row after surgery on his left knee, but they trailed only 58-56 after two quarters Wednesday. Washington was playing on the second half of a back-to-back after winning at Milwaukee on Tuesday night, and a bit of lethargy showed early on while falling into a 16-point deficit in the second quarter.
“We came out a little lackadaisical, a little sluggish,” Beal said.
The Warriors, meanwhile, were well-rested after getting Tuesday off. They dispensed with the reigning NBA champs’ traditional White House visit while in town, opting to spend the day touring the National Museum of African American History and Culture with students from Durant’s nearby hometown of Seat Pleasant, Maryland.
“We left it up to the players — what they decided to do, what they wanted to do. And this is what they decided to do, and it was a wonderful day yesterday,” Kerr said. “I think everybody enjoyed it.”
In September, Curry said he would not visit the White House if invited; Trump then announced on Twitter that the “invitation is withdrawn!”