Warriors dominate in spurts, dispatch Wizards for 67th win

Shocker: Stephen Curry's three-point shooting helped the Warriors to a win. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Shocker: Stephen Curry's three-point shooting helped the Warriors to a win. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

The Golden State Warriors have captured the imaginations of basketball fans and analysts all over the world with overwhelming blowouts of both the best and worst competition the NBA has to offer. Yet many of the wins in this record-breaking season have not been so dominant. Like most teams, the Warriors sometimes need to pull out victories by cobbling together short bursts of excellence and avoiding too many mistakes. Their 67th win certainly fell into that category.

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The Warriors welcomed the Washington Wizards to Oracle Arena on Tuesday and struggled somewhat in the second quarter following a quality start. Washington used a 14-4 run to overcome an early eight-point deficit, building a 46-37 lead of its own, and appeared set to challenge Golden State all night. Yet the Warriors closed the half on a 12-0 run over the final 2:24 to enter the break with a three-point lead and set the tone for the rest of the contest.

The Warriors controlled the second half and built the lead up to as large as 95-76 before losing interest and allowing the Wizards to make a nominal charge in the closing minutes. A quick return for Stephen Curry and Harrison Barnes ended any threat, and the Warriors picked up a 102-94 win to improve to 67-7 on the season.

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Again, this victory will not be remembered as one of the best of the year. Golden State turned it over 16 times and missed eight of 23 free throws to allow Washington to stay close. Great teams find ways to win, though, and the Warriors thrived late in quarters against a Wizards team prone to lapses. It also helps when you can shoot 11-of-25 on threes to cover for any mistakes. Curry had six of those makes on just eight attempts for his game-high 26 points:

This fast-break dunk, however, was arguably more memorable than any of the jumpers:

Curry added seven rebounds and seven assists (plus five turnovers), but it was Draymond Green who had the best all-around game. He finished one assist shy of his 13th triple-double with 15 points (4-of-6 FG, 3-of-4 3FG) and 16 boards.

The Wizards lacked anything approaching elite three-point shooting to offset their 17 turnovers, going 5-of-23 from beyond the arc as part of a 41.9 percent shooting night overall. John Wall and Bradley Beal combined for 25 points on 10-of-30 shooting from the field as part of those struggles. The Chicago Bulls' victory over the Indiana Pacers means the Wizards are now a game back of Chicago in 10th place and three behind the Pacers for the No. 8 spot, which could be too large a gap to overcome with just eight left to play.

The Warriors play again Wednesday at the Utah Jazz in one of the tougher games left in their pursuit of 73 wins, especially now that it appears Gregg Popovich will sit his top players for the two remaining games against the San Antonio Spurs. The seventh-place Jazz will look for a win to open up a meaningful lead ahead of the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks in the race for the West's last two playoff berths.

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Eric Freeman is a writer for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at efreeman_ysports@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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