The Golden State Warriors (40-31) got another incredible performance from their emerging star Steph Curry through three and a half quarters on Saturday night, winning their 40th game of the season 101-92 over the Washington Wizards (25-44).
But with six minutes remaining in the game, the young Warriors star rolled his surgically repaired right ankle (again) on a drive to the basket and went down in pain. Curry tried to walk it off but never returned. This has been a reoccurring nightmare for the Golden State Warriors organization.
Curry got off to a hot start and never looked back, scoring 35 points on 13-18 shooting to go along with eight assists in just 32 minutes before his injury. He connected on six of 10 from beyond the arc and has now hit a total of 218 shots from 3-point range on the season, leading the NBA.
David Lee also added to a league leading stat of his own with his 47th double-double. Lee scored 11 points and collected 15 rebounds.
With Curry’s injury, the Wizards were able to climb back and hang around, outscoring the Warriors 28-19 in the fourth quarter. Golden State went flat and was only able to score one basket in the final six minutes without Curry, but in the end Washington just shot too poorly throughout the early quarters, scoring just 40 points in the first half.
Washington was shorthanded themselves, playing without rookie Bradley Beal due to a sprained ankle of his own. His backcourt-mate John Wall also had an early exit from Saturday night’s game.
Wall had a few choice words for Warriors guard Klay Thompson and picked up his second technical foul, getting ejected from the game late in the third quarter. Not having either backcourt starter really hurt the Wizards down the stretch. Wall finished with 14 points, three rebounds, and three assists on the night.
Cartier Martin had the game of his young career, scoring 23 points for the Wizards off the bench. He came alive during the Wizards’ fourth-quarter run and connected on six of his nine 3-point attempts on the night.
In the midst of NCAA‘s March Madness, the NBA season is headed for its own postseason and every game is a must-win for the current sixth-seeded Warriors. It is important for Golden State to take advantage of every opportunity that they can, and that includes beating a lowly Wizards squad in their own building. The W’s did just that.
However, it’s tough to celebrate a victory when your best player went down with a reoccurring injury that once again leaves your team’s future in doubt. With Curry, the Warriors played like a playoff contender. Without Curry, they played like a lottery team.
With the Los Angeles Lakers coming into town on Monday for what will be the biggest game of the season, Golden State desperately needs a healthy Steph Curry. There will be a lot of question marks as they head into a much-needed Sunday of rest.
You can follow Rich Peters on twitter @Tricky_Roma.