OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Closing in on the NBA’s top playoff seed, the Golden State Warriors have been at their best.
Stephen Curry scored 24 points, and the Warriors used a smothering defensive effort in the third quarter to pound the Washington Wizards 107-76 on Monday night.
“I think the last few games have been a real progression for us in terms of just being very methodical and professional,” coach Steve Kerr said.
The Warriors held the Wizards without a field goal for nearly 11 minutes after halftime, with Washington missing its first 15 shots. Golden State outscored the Wizards 29-8 in the quarter to take a 24-point lead.
“The shots started to fall as we got momentum and confidence in the third quarter and got our crowd into it. It was fun,” Curry said.
The MVP candidate added six assists and five rebounds as the NBA-leading Warriors (57-13) moved closer to securing home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. Golden State has a huge lead over Memphis (50-21) in the Western Conference and is pulling away from East-leading Atlanta (53-17) as well.
That could be a scary prospect for the NBA.
The Warriors became the first team in league history to complete two perfect six-game homestands in the same season. They are an NBA-best 34-2 at home, where sellout crowds are rocking road teams nightly.
Bradley Beal scored 12 points, and John Wall finished with 11 points, five assists and five rebounds for the Wizards, who have lost three straight. Washington, which shot 33.3 percent, was held to a season low in points.
“It was like we were playing in mud, walking up and down,” Wizards coach Randy Wittman said.
Washington was down just three at the half before falling apart. Then again, so have a lot of teams at Oracle Arena.
As the Wizards (40-31) continued to miss shots in the third quarter, the Warriors were able to get out in transition. Curry connected on three 3s in the quarter to cap Golden State’s surge.
Kevin Seraphin, who had 12 points and eight rebounds, hit a hook shot with 1:02 to play in the period for Washington’s first — and only — field goal. The Wizards went 6 for 10 on free throws in the quarter.
It was the second time in a month the Warriors held an opponent to one made basket in a quarter. Toronto shot 1 for 19 in the first quarter of Golden State’s 113-89 win Feb. 27.
“Their offense opened up and our lack of offense really discouraged our defense,” said Wizards forward Paul Pierce, who had seven points. “And it can’t be like that.”
The Warriors honored their 1974-75 NBA championship team throughout the game, with Hall of Famer Rick Barry leading the former players onto the court with the title trophy during a ceremony after the first quarter. Barry spoke to the team in the locker room after the game, praising the current players and wishing the team well.
“It’s just good encouragement for the mission that we’re on this year,” Curry said.
Warriors guard Klay Thompson started after missing the last three games with a sprained right ankle. The All-Star had eight points and three rebounds in 18 minutes.
“I felt good. I didn’t feel any pain,” Thompson said. “Of course, I got a little tired. But that’s going to happen because it’s really hard to simulate game speed.”
Wizards: Washington’s 97-77 loss to Minnesota on Feb. 25 was its previous low in points this season. ... Wall surpassed 700 assists for the season. He’s the first player in franchise history to have at least 700 assists in consecutive seasons since Rod Strickland during the 1996-97 and 1997-98 seasons.
Warriors: Andrew Bogut grabbed 12 rebounds, and Draymond Green added 13 points and six boards. ... The team record for home victories is 36, set in the 1975-76 season. ... The Warriors finished the season 14-1 at home against the East, their best record vs. the conference since the NBA expanded to 29 teams in 1995-96.
Wizards: Host Indiana on Wednesday.
Warriors: At Portland on Tuesday.