(Will Newton / Getty Images)
By Huey Bergstrom
(WASHINGTON D.C.) The Warriors bench played well and Oubre Jr. was among the game's leading scorers but in the end, road trip exhaustion got the best of the Warriors in a 118-114 loss to the Wizards on their home court Wednesday night.
There were a number of chances to close out the game for Golden State but they weren't able to take advantage of any of them. Russell Westbrook did not squander his chance. He put another triple-double with 14 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists and took control of the game in the final minutes.
In many ways, Wednesday's loss was reminiscent of the April 9 loss to the Wizards at the Chase Center, where the Dubs played well despite injuries with their bench chipping in some big points, but were unable to close despite leading late into the fourth.
This one was slightly less demoralizing but the Warriors had a nine point lead with just over five minutes remaining before Westbrook and Bradley Beal, who had 29 in the Wizards win, lifted Washington to victory. The Dubs had a chance to tie with ten seconds left but Andrew Wiggins missed a close lay up which lead to the go ahead free throws by David Bertans.
Coach Steve Kerr noted that exhaustion likely played a key with the weak finish. Curry shot unusually and finished with just 18 points.
Beyond poor offensive production, Golden State's defense was lackluster as well. The indication of fatigue usually shows in Warrior's opponents free throw attempts. When the Dubs play good defense they're fouls stay relatively low and they don't give opposing team the chance to score those kinds of easy buckets. Wednesday was not a case of strong defense. The Wizards shot 32-of-38 on free throws and, especially at the end of the game, were able to use the Warriors fatigue on defense to get to the free throw line.
However, there was a bright spot amid all this chokery and fatigue: the bench.
The Warriors bench outscored Washington throughout the game but in the end, the defense is what sunk the Warriors chances. Oubre Jr., Kent Bazemore and Jordan Poole combined for 65 on the night, which is a great sign heading into Friday's home game against the Nuggets. Without decent defense and good production from Curry, however, even a nice night from the bench won't be enough to get the win.