Key Legislature: Wizards 121 vs Warriors 134 — Curry Too Hot To Handle | Wizards Blog Truth About

Key Legislature: Wizards 121 vs Warriors 134 — Curry Too Hot To Handle

Updated: February 5, 2016

TAI’s Key Legislature… The game’s defining moment, its critical event, the wildest basketball thing you ever saw, or just stuff that happened. Wizards vs. Warrios, Regular Season Game 47, Feb. 3, 2016, by Adam McGinnis (@AdamMcGinnis), from the Verizon Center, D.C. Photo: Monumental Sports.

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On February 11, 1964, the Beatles performed their first concert in the United States at the Washington Coliseum(1The Washington Coliseum was also known as the ULine arena, home of the Washington Capitols of the Basketball Association of America. Red Auerbach coached there from 1946-49. It also was the home of the ABA’s Washington Caps from 1969-70. Rick Barry and Larry Brown played on the team. The structure is currently under construction to be a REI outdoor store.2) in D.C. The “Fab Four” from Liverpool electrified a new American audience. Fifty-two years later, almost to the day, the Golden State Warriors put on a complementary display of basketball rock-and-roll in the nation’s capital.

It appears on the surface overly hyperbolic and premature to compare one of the most iconic rock bands of all time to an NBA team, but the similarities are striking:

  • The Beatles arrived in D.C. from New York, where they had debuted on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” The Warriors’ previous game was in Manhattan against the New York Knicks.
  • In Golden State’s 136-121 victory over Washington, Warriors guard Steph Curry scorched the Wizards for 51 points and 11 3-pointers. Curry was one made 3-pointer away from tying an All-time NBA record. Groups of Beatles fans still trek to the now-shuttered Coliseum every February 12 to remember that historic evening by dancing around the arena to their favorite songs. Wednesday’s Golden State production won’t soon be forgotten.
  • The Beatles tune “I Want To Hold Your Hand” was their first American hit single, largely in part because of a D.C. radio DJ. The song sat atop the charts in February of 1964. The Warriors are the current defending NBA champs. Both groups stepped onto the pavement in D.C. as they ascended into their primes.
  • The Beatles’ show at the Coliseum began their successful transformation of how rock-and-roll bands in America were perceived. One music historian has called their D.C. show “one of the most exciting live performances the Beatles ever gave.” The Warriors are executing an exciting brand of “small ball” basketball that is revolutionizing the game. Their record of 45-4 has them on pace for the best ever regular season finish.
  • In over six years of covering the Wizards games, I have never witnessed fans mob a player like they did Curry when he exited the court. The Beatles had to rent an entire floor of the Omni Shoreham hotel in Woodley Park in order to deal with their throngs of admirers.
  • The Warriors visited the White House on Thursday to honor their 2014-15 championship. “I already met President Obama, so I’m not real excited,” Curry joked after the game. The Beatles had an event at the British Embassy. Beatles band member Paul McCartney recalled, “The idea of going to an ambassador’s party was sort of amusing and vaguely interesting, but it wasn’t our scene.”
  • The Beatles performed in front of 8,000 adoring fans that evening and this first-hand account compared the raucous atmosphere to “an explosion.” The Verizon Center was sold out. Every made Curry 3-point attempt sent the crowd into a frenzy. For example, check out the arena’s reaction when Curry successful nailed this wild shot.

The parallels don’t stop there, but let’s get to analyzing the actual basketball contest.

There were numerous pivotal moments in the Warriors’ triumph. Curry blazed to 25-point opening quarter on 9-for-10 shooting (7 made 3s), outscoring he entire Wizards team, 23-22. His insane shooting display energized followers of both squads and the game itself became secondary to whatever absurd stunt Steph was about to pull off next. To Washington’s credit, the team battled back behind the playmaking of John Wall and Bradley Beal. The Wizards backcourt duo attacked the rim, turned steals into buckets and produced many highlights of their own. They combined for 34 first-half points but, of course, their total was two points less than Curry’s output. Watching the reigning M.V.P. in the first half reminded me of a Barry Bonds at bat, or a Barry Sanders rushing attempt—you anticipated extreme sports greatness to at any moment. And when it did, the rush still was overwhelming.

The next significant series was Washington coming out like gangbusters to start the second half, in turn producing some of the best basketball of the season. Otto Porter started to knock down shots, the Wiz defense were ball hawks in the passing lanes, Wall’s drives were unstoppable, and Marcin Gortat briefly gave the Warriors fits on his rolls to the basket. The Wizards went on a 19-7 run in the first four minutes of the third quarter. The Phone Booth was, for the first time Wednesday evening, wanting for not Curry but the home team.

Everything changed when Wall picked up his fourth foul at the six-minute mark, then trailing by just two points. Coach Don Newman, filling in for Randy Wittman who was absent due to the passing of his brother, pulled Wall from the game. This overly cautious (one could argue) decision proved costly as the Warriors finished the third quarter on a 22-13 run with Washington’s star point guard on the bench. Wall returned in the fourth quarter but Washington never got closer than six points.

Two other sequences summarized how the Wizards were unable to conjure the necessary stuff to upset the champs. Gortat, in the fourth, stole the ball at half court and awkwardly attempted to pass it ahead, but the ball went to Warriors guard (and former Wizard) Shaun Livingston, who then rifled a pass to Klay Thompson for a successful corner 3-ball. Later, Porter missed an opportunity in transition and the Wiz tip-back attempt was unsuccessful. Immediately, the Warriors pushed the ball up the court, found Curry in the corner, who barely had control of the ball but still flicked a 25-footer into the hoop over the outstretched arm of a too-slow-to-close Gortat. These two plays combined to be a 10-point swing. Washington doesn’t have enough talent to beat the champs when they squander easy chances.

Unfortunately, Wall’s final line of 41 points on 17-for-25 shooting, with 10 assists, will be overshadowed by Curry’s 51. Any talk of him not deserving an All-Star berth has hopefully now subsided.

The experience was surreal, fun, and probably the closest thing to a legitimate moral victory. However, the Wizards have now dropped 16 games at the Verizon Center (10-16) this season, compared to 13 losses at the Phone Booth all of last season. Only the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers have more home defeats in the Eastern Conference. This is simply unacceptable. I share the sentiments of our TAI Boss man, Kyle Weidie.

Whether these Washington Wizards can take their sad song and make it better remains to be seen. There isn’t much track left.


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Adam McGinnis
Reporter / Writer / Media at TAI
Adam is a bro from the Midwest who's been bopping around the District of Columbia for years. He's down with a range of sports, etc. and has covered the Washington Wizards for TAI since 2010.