Steph Curry, Jordan Poole lead Warriors to win over Wizards

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WASHINGTON — Stephen Curry has looked more and more like himself again after a shoulder injury sidelined him for a month.

But Monday afternoon was Curry’s best outing yet since returning Jan. 7.

Curry, playing in his fourth game back from a partially dislocated left shoulder, scored 41 points while taking over the last seven minutes of the game to lead Golden State to a 127-118 win over the Washington Wizards.

He knocked down a step-back 22-footer with about two minutes remaining in regulation to give the Warriors a six-point advantage after they trailed by as many as eight earlier in the quarter. Moments later, Draymond Green batted an offensive rebound out to Jordan Poole, who drained a dagger 3 to make it a nine-point advantage.

Ballgame.

Curry scored 12 of his game-high 41 in the final seven minutes and finished with 12 of 28 shooting, drilling six shots from beyond the arc. He also tallied seven rebounds and two assists while playing about 38 minutes.

“Everybody had to be aggressive but for me, it was another step in the direction of getting back to myself after the injury,” Curry said after the win.

Coach Steve Kerr agreed.

“We have seen him over the last few games since he’s been back, kind of take steps,” Kerr said of Curry. “Even tonight, he was struggling early on, closed the first quarter with a flurry, and then second quarter kind of struggled, looked a little bit tired to me. I don’t think he looked like he was looking three weeks ago before the injury but you can see him breaking through barriers.”

The Wizards had no answers for the Warriors down the stretch. Even the home crowd was strongly favoring the visitors to win.

Fans seem to loudly cheer for Curry’s every move, especially in the fourth. A chorus of “M-V-P” chants erupted for Curry as he stepped up to the foul line with 28 seconds left.

After the game, Kerr lauded Curry as a “modern MJ” who draws a crowd every town the Warriors’ circus stops in.

“I used to see this playing with the Bulls. Half the crowd’s got red No. 23 jerseys on and now half the crowd’s got blue-and-yellow 30 jerseys,” Kerr said. “Steph transcends the game, he elicits an emotion from people I think because he’s so awe inspiring with his play that no matter where we go, there are people who are cheering for him and can’t wait to see him perform. Because we’ve never seen anything like him.”

OK but not all in Capital One Arena were riding the Warriors’ wagon.

A pair of chirping fans sitting on the sidelines near the Warriors’ bench had been running their mouths all afternoon. One particularly got under Green’s skin when he questioned the four-time champion’s future Hall of Fame credentials.

“He was talking from the start of the game until I shut him up,” Green said. “I appreciate it though because I had nothing, I had nothing going. I couldn’t find it, wasn’t about to find it. And then shoutout to them … They got me going.”

Green tallied 11 points, four assists and two rebounds in the fourth quarter. He took advantage of the attention Curry was getting from Wizards defenders and went a perfect 4-for-4 from the field, knocking down a pair of threes in the process.

While Curry and Green carried the Warriors to the finish line, Poole helped them build a 69-64 halftime lead. Poole scored 23 of his 32 points in the second quarter, going 4-for-6 from deep.

The Wizards are now 18-26 on the season and remain outside the playoff picture. Still, Kerr considered Monday a “big win” for Golden State, which was playing with a depleted frontcourt and missing Klay Thompson (injury management.)

“We know we got a really tough back-to-back coming up to finish this trip out and this was a difficult back-to-back for us, too, just with two straight day games with travel in between. Our guys really exerted themselves,” Kerr said. “Would’ve been a shame to waste that with a loss so it felt like we were rewarded for the effort that the guys gave.”

The Warriors will have two days off before starting their next back-to-back, which features stops in Boston Thursday and Cleveland Friday. Golden State will spend Tuesday afternoon at the White House, where the team will be honored for its 2022 NBA title and meet President Joe Biden.



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