A quart of Stephen Curry, a dash of Marreese Speights and a pinch of coaching ingenuity went a long way for the Warriors on a cold Tuesday night in Washington.
The Warriors' 114-107 win over the Wizards at Verizon Center was in many ways a scar on the game of basketball. The Warriors' top-rated defense was roasted. They got outrebounded by a wide margin.
As for the Wizards, well, they made an enormous effort to give away the game, committing a season-high 26 turnovers.
"Normally we hold team in the low 40s and they shot (53.2 percent)," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "They were able to hang in the game because they were really good in the half court. But they turned it over so many times that was the difference in the game."
[INSTANT REPLAY: Curry, Warriors escape Washington with win]
The Warriors (44-10) scored 23 points off those turnovers and some of those points were courtesy of Curry's dazzling play. He finished with 32 points (11-of-18 shooting), eight assists, two steals and zero turnovers.
All in all, a highly impressive comeback for the point guard who was sidelined by a sore foot and missed Sunday's game at Indiana.
"All I needed was for him to tell me whether he was good to go," Kerr said.
Curry's heroics were required, as were those of Speights, who scored 11 of his 16 points in the first half, when the Wizards were shooting especially well.
In his faceoff with Washington's star point guard, John Wall, Curry won in a rout. Wall finished with 16 points and 11 assists but also had eight turnovers. Curry essentially went into Wall's backyard and wowed the 20,356 in attendance.
"It was good to have Steph doing what he does, mesmerizing the crowd, mesmerizing us and keeping us in it in the first half," Klay Thompson said of Curry.
Curry's exploits weren't always enough. With the Wizards (33-24) owning the glass (45-29) and veteran forward Paul Pierce torching all defenders to score a team-high 25 points in 28 minutes, the Warriors were on the edge throughout.
"It's weird because we weren't turning the ball over, but we didn't ever really have control of the game," Kerr noted.
But the game turned in the fourth quarter when Kerr opted to stay with one of the smallest lineups he has used. Draymond Green (6-foot-7) was at center, Harrison Barnes (6-8) at power forward, Andre Iguodala (6-7) at small forward, Thompson (6-7) at shooting guard and Curry (6-3) at the point.
"We might be small according to NBA standards but we still got guys that play bigger than their size," Thompson said. "Andre and Harrison, they all rebound great in their position and play bigger than they are supposed to.”
That lineup played the final five minutes and sealed the game, outscoring Washington 16-12.
The win pushed the Warriors road record to 20-8 and was a much-needed boost in the wake of losing to the Pacers and ahead of upcoming games against the raging Cavaliers in Cleveland on Thursday and the Raptors in Toronto on Friday.
"It's huge," Curry said. "We're a resilient team, to be able to bounce back and get a win against a team that's very talented. We know they haven't been playing as well as they were earlier in the year. But on any given night, especially at home, they can come out and beat the great teams in this league.
"For us to bounce back the way we did and kind of win it ugly down the stretch, it was a good sign for where we're trying to go."
Curry's return was as majestic as it was triumphant. He soared and scored, while spinning magic with his dribbling and passing. He can't be 100 percent, but it didn't matter.
David Lee continues to provide strong rebounding off the bench, snagging a team-high 10 in 18 minutes.
His scoring burden reduced with Curry's return, Thompson submitted a nice line: 17 points, a career-high five steals and four assists.
Though the Wizards have been struggling and are among the teams you'd consider a challenge for the league's top-rated defense, they fried the Warriors at 53.2 percent.
Getting beaten so soundly on the glass can't be taken lightly. Not many teams are going to offset that with a bunch of giveaways.
The Warriors kept it close, with Washington's help, until they tightened up the defense and scored just enough to close out the Wizards, who made only two shots over the final four minutes.
This was another showcase for Curry's MVP campaign. He was decisive, aggressive, entertaining and ultimately effective. When Curry plays as he did in this game, even the best of opponents will have a hard time stopping the Warriors.