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What we learned as Klay, CP3 power Warriors' win over Wizards

What we learned as Klay, CP3 power Warriors' win over Wizards originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

On a night when Stephen Curry still had trouble finding his shooting touch, Klay Thompson came up big again, scoring 13 of his 25 points when the Warriors pulled away and built a big lead on the way to beating the Washington Wizards 123-112 on Tuesday at Capital One Arena.

Curry missed his first seven shots and was held scoreless in the first half of a regular-season game for the first time since Nov. 23, 2012 against the Denver Nuggets, when he didn’t even attempt a shot until the second half. Curry finished Tuesday's win with 18 points.

Thompson was at the other end of the spectrum. He shot 9 of 16 from the field and made six of the 21 3-pointers that the Warriors (30-27) hung on the lowly Wizards (9-49), who have lost 12 straight overall and 15 straight at home.

Chris Paul, playing for the first time since Jan. 5 after undergoing hand surgery, had nine points, six assists, four steals and was a plus-17. Jonathan Kuminga had 21 points, six rebounds and five assists. Moses Moody, who started in place of Andrew Wiggins (personal reasons), scored 12 points.

It was the 18th different starting lineup that Warriors coach Steve Kerr has trotted out this season.

With its sixth consecutive road win and 11th win in the last 14 games overall, Golden State remains one of the hottest teams in the NBA. The Warriors entered the day a half game behind the Los Angeles Lakers for the No. 9 slot in the Western Conference.

Here are the takeaways from Tuesday’s game:

Curry sputters again

Curry has insisted he’s not wearing down, but it’s obvious that the two-time NBA scoring champ has been out of rhythm in the Warriors’ two games since the All-Star break.

Curry eventually got going a little in the third quarter against Washington when he knocked down a pair of threes, but overall, it was a very un-Steph-like shooting performance. He was a chilly 6-of-21 shooting.

That came on the heels of Curry’s uneven game against the Nuggets two days earlier when he was 6 of 19 from the floor while going just 1 of 10 on 3-pointers.

Clearly, Curry can and will still be a major factor, so there’s no need to panic. And with Paul back in the mix, that should take some of the pressure off Curry’s shoulders and not force Kerr to play him as much.

Good bench gets better

The Warriors have had one of the NBA’s most productive benches all season, and the return of Paul obviously makes the second unit stronger.

Paul didn’t do much scoring, but his impact isn’t relegated just to a stat line of numbers. Paul set a good a clean hard screen in the first quarter that led to an open bucket, and he was very active on the defensive end.

His presence alone and masterful court awareness also opened things up for other players and allowed the offense to run very smoothly and efficiently while he was on the court.

With Thompson settling in to his new role off the bench, the Warriors’ reserves have the potential to be extremely explosive. On Tuesday, they outscored the Wizards' bench 59-15.

Gary Payton II also made an impact, especially early with his put-back slam. Payton had 13 points, four rebounds and three steals.

Throw in Trayce Jackson-Davis and Moody, and the prospects for what the Warriors’ bench can do are unlimited.

More for Moody

A lot of people in Dub Nation have been clamoring for Moody to get more playing time, and the No 14 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft got his opportunity with Wiggins not available. It marked Moody’s first start since Dec. 2, 2023.

After having his first shot of the night blocked, Moody settled in nicely and played some solid ball to provide a boost to the offense early as Curry and others misfired. Moody finished 4-of-7 shooting and also showed good hustle on the defensive end, getting back to break up a fastbreak drive in the second half.

When Wiggins returns, Moody will almost certainly go back to the bench. But with the Warriors now 4-1 in games that he has started during the 2023-24 season, expect the chatter about the need to keep him in the starting rotation to continue.

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