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(WASHINGTON D.C.) The Warriors have a chance to come back to the Bay Area on a 4-1 win streak if they beat the Washington Wizards at home Wednesday night.
A win in D.C. would put them in a great position for a potential play-in game, put them over .500 on the year and get back some of the confidence that was dinged in a rough loss to the Wizards at home April 9.
Kelly Oubre Jr., who came off the bench in Monday's win against the 76ers, and by extension the whole second-unit will be crucial to a Dubs win. With Juan Toscano-Anderson out, Damion Lee questionable and Washington facing some of it's own second-unit injuries, bench scoring will likely be the deciding factor. Oubre Jr. didn't show out offensively against the 76ers but his defense was strong and, against a talented guard like Bradley Beal, that'll come up big.
A win in D.C. would end the five-game road trip on a high but would also be a small bit of retribution for the April 9 game that, at the time and even in hindsight, feels like a low point on the season. The Warriors played well most of the game, and held to a small lead in the final seconds of the game before fouling multiple times and giving the Wizards a chance to tie and then eventually win. It was about as demoralizing as losses come.
However, that low point gave way to the string of wins the Warriors are now riding. Similarly, the Wizards have been a hot streak winning their last five games and seven of their last eight.
Russell Westbrook is the player to watch for the Wizards. He's been averaging a triple-double again this season (fourth time in his career) but his lackluster defense and slowed offense pace has, at times, not translated to Washington wins. If he's on early, it'll be tough for the Warriors to catch up without fouling. If Golden State's defense can play to Westbrook's faults (namely holding the ball and poor defense) they have a good chance to win.
As usual this season, the second unit becomes critical. If the Warriors can hold and even push their lead when Curry is on the bench, they'll likely win. It's been getting tougher for them to do that this season with the now lengthy list of injuries but Oubre Jr. provides a useful spark of offense and tough defense off the bench. It has yet to be seen whether he really enjoys this new role but for the time being, it's worked well.