Three takeaways from Warriors/Wizards

The Warriors’ ninth straight victory was never in doubt.

Not when the Washington Wizards umped to an early lead in the first quarter. Their spirited fourth quarter run that cut the lead to three made the stakes a bit interesting but that was all.

No matter how well the Wizards played, it was still Golden State’s game to lose. However, in the Warriors’ 126-118 victory, their lapses made a cameo. The two teams traded run for run until the Wizards couldn’t run anymore. Here are some observations from Thursday night’s win.

Warriors Win The Paint Decisively

The Warriors beat the Wizards 70-48 in points in the paint. Washington spent most of the game denying the three and running Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson off the line. However, DeMarcus Cousins and Curry feasted in the paint. The duo exposed and exploited the Wizards’ lack of rim protection. Cousins was able to impose his will and backdown the Wizards’ defenders for easy finishes at the rim. Meanwhile, Curry was able to slash the paint and finish craftily around the rim.

The addition of Cousins obviously gives the Dubs’ something that they’ve haven’t had in ages: the ability to go big and to have a solid post scoring, playmaking, and rebounding threat. Three games in, and “Boogie” is making those advantages known.

Lapses and Blown Leads

During the game, Golden State held leads of 13, 15, and 12 points and the Wizards continued to chip them down to leads and 8, 5, and 3. Washington was able to get back into the game by capitalizing on the Warriors’ turnovers. The ‘Dubs committed 15 turnovers and Washington scored 15 points off of them.

In addition to committing carless turnovers, it is possible that the fact that the Wizards’ small ball lineup frustrated the Warriors and was the driving forces of those runs. While Cousins been impressive on the offensive end, he still struggles defensively at times and opponents could capitalize off of it.

Is Another Lineup Experiment On the Horizon?

Since the Wizards were somewhat successful with going small against the Cousins, Shaun Livingston, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson lineup, look for other teams to implement the same strategy, especially since Cousins struggle in pick and roll situations. The Warriors could counter with the Hampton 5 lineup. Or experiment by tweaking the lineup. Instead of Cousins, maybe Kevin Durant at the 5? When motivated, Durant is a solid rim protector and could effectively pick up on pick and rolls and switches. Plus, adding Durant at the 5 could also provide the mismatches that Cousins can if necessary.

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