WASHINGTON –- Folks in and around the nation’s capital tend to flock to a major event, which explains why Washington Wizards ticket prices were at a five-year high for the Stephen Curry Show, featuring the Warriors, on Wednesday night.
The 20,356 that filled Verizon Center got their money’s worth in performance art, even if some left disappointed with the outcome.
Curry finished with 51 points, lighting up the building in the first quarter, pouring 25 on 9-of-10 shooting, including 7-of-8 from deep. The seventh-year point guard finished the first half with 36, making 13 of his first 14 shots, and eight of his first nine from deep.
With his fourth career game of at least 50 points, Curry built such a scoreboard reservoir that the Warriors were able to withstand some ugly moments – including more than a few provided by Curry – in posting a 134-121 victory on the eve of the team’s visit to the White House to celebrate its 2015 title with President Obama.
“We had a major emphasis on trying to start the game well, knowing how explosive they are on the offensive end,” Curry said, referring to the Wizards. “I didn’t know it would shape out like that. But when you make your first couple of shots and get a lucky bounce on one, you start to build confidence.”
The shots that felt good coming off his hands were going in, as were those that didn’t feel so good. Curry’s shooting exhibition was a beauty to behold, thrilling the youngsters, many of whom were wearing Warriors apparel, and numerous times bringing the entire crowd out of its seats.
It was a splendid recovery for the reigning MVP, who spent the previous three games in a “Steph Slump,” shooting 37.9 percent (11 of 29) from 3-point range and 38.3 percent (18 of 47) overall. He had scored 50 points, total, during those games.
“I didn’t know Steph was in a slump; Steph’s never in a slump,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said with a grin. “But, yeah, was scintillating tonight coming out of the gate.”
Curry needed every bit of his offense to prevail in a fabulous point-guard duel with Wizards star John Wall, who totaled a season-high 41 points on 17-of-25 shooting, making all three of his treys.
“He made some unbelievable shots,” Wall said of Curry, “and we know he can shoot the ball very well. From time to time he gets in one of those zones.”
With Curry in that “zone,” the Warriors (45-4) were able to hold off Wall and the Wizards to win their eighth consecutive game and sweep their three-game road trip.
Yet there were plenty of floor warts that came along with such pristine shooting, with Curry committing seven turnovers, one off his season high.
“It’s something we harp on constantly,” Kerr said. “But it’s really easy to get caught in the track meet and start trying crazy things when you’re up 13, 14 points and you don’t really feel threatened. But we should feel threatened, because the turnovers are killing us.”
The Warriors committed 18 turnovers, off which the Wizards scored 24 points. Kerr after the game addressed the issue with the team, and even in the face of such a remarkable shooting display Curry felt the sting of those sloppy moments.
“It’s still frustrating,” he said of the giveaways. “It helps that the other things were going well. But I still know that I didn’t have that great of a floor game.
“It’s one of those games where I had probably three of them that I shouldn’t have had. A couple of lazy passes, telegraphed passes. It happens. It’s frustrating because when they happened, that’s when they got back in the game.”
Washington (21-26) trimmed a 14-point halftime deficit to two with 7:48 left in the third quarter. They never were able to catch up, though, because Curry dropped in seven points in seven minutes of the fourth quarter, while teammates Klay Thompson and Shaun Livingston combined for 17 to hold off the Wizards.
“To sweep the trip and be able to enjoy tomorrow, the festivities at the White House and then head home,” Kerr said, “it’s a hell of a trip.”
And it was punctuated by a performance by Curry that won’t soon be forgotten.