Golden State built a 20-point lead by the third quarter Wednesday night, then seemed to take it easy and very nearly paid the price.
Curry finished with 29 points and nine rebounds as Golden State snapped a four-game losing streak and improved to 1-2 on its season-high seven-game road trip.
“You’re always in control of the game if you’re winning, and they had to do so much to get back in it,” Curry said. “You don’t want to be in that situation, so we have to learn from that and keep that lead and hopefully maintain that throughout the fourth quarter.”
The Warriors jumped on the Wizards at the outset of the second half, with Curry and Monta Ellis stepping up on offense to slowly boost a nine-point advantage. Ellis’ driving layup gave Golden State an 85-65 bulge with 4:07 left in the third and it seemed as if the rout was on.
“All of a sudden, you look up and you’re down 20,” said Randy Wittman, who served as acting Wizards coach while Flip Saunders missed the game to attend to his ailing mother.
Washington, which has now lost seven straight and 16 of 18 overall, got within 103-102 on Nick Young’s deep 3-pointer with 6.3 seconds remaining. Curry hit two free throws to push the lead to 105-102 with 5.9 seconds left, and Young’s desperation 3 from the top of the key with 1.7 seconds remaining was well off the mark. Curry added one final free throw.
“I wish I could take it back,” said Young, who scored a game-high 31 points. “But you can’t do nothing about it now.”
For the Warriors, who had big offensive nights only to lose to Minnesota and Indiana in their last two games, it was a familiar story with a different ending.
“When you’ve gone through a streak of losing, to get a win—no matter how it ends up—nobody will pay attention to how the fourth quarter went,” Golden State coach Keith Smart said.