Warriors vs. Wizards (8pm ET Wednesday, ESPN) The Warriors had a good scare on Saturday, defeating the feckless 76ers 108-105 on a Harrison Barnes 3-pointer with 1 second on the clock – and this after being up 13 with 3:26 left to play. The Warriors got their mojo back the following night, beating the Knicks 116-95 as big man Draymond Green had a triple-double, going 20-10-10, and Klay Thompson scored 34 on 14-of-18 shooting, including 5-of-6 from 3. The Warriors have won 7 in a row to lift their record to a league-best 44-4, and they’re on pace to win 75 games.
Washington on Monday fell victim to a Russell Westbrook triple-double, as the Thunder rolled over the Wizards 114-98. Westbrook’s 17-31-11 was too much for John Wall, who was only able to counter with 17-4-8. The loss brings the Wizards' record to 21-25, good enough to tie for an underwhelming 10th in the East. Despite being 5th in the NBA in pace of play, the Wiz are 29th in field goal attempts, they don’t get to the line much (25th in FT attempts), they’re dead last in both offensive and defensive rebounds, leading to the third-worst rebounding differential, and they’re 29th in blocks. There is no shortage of weaknesses to shore up.
Timberwolves vs. Clippers (10:30pm ET Wednesday, ESPN)
The Minnesota Timberwolves fell to the Lakers Tuesday, 119-115, as Kobe Bryant captured some of the old magic, scoring 38 points, including the LA’s final 8, as they barely held off a second-half run by the Timberwolves. The ‘Wolves have been the most ineffective 3-point shooting team in the league this season, ranking last in both makes and attempts, and second-to-last in percentage made, and it haunted them again against the Lakers, as they bested them in field goal percentage, assists, rebounds and blocks, but made just 4 of 17 from 3, as the Lakers made 12 of 26. Rookie Karl-Anthony Towns is having a fine season, ranking in the top 10 in rebounds and blocks per game, and finds himself in a duel with Kristaps Porzingis for Rookie of the Year honors, but the Timberwolves have still lost 28 of their last 34, and sit at 14-36 with the fourth-worst record in the NBA.
The Clippers have won four in a row and are now 32-16, good enough for 4th in the West. Their most recent victory came Sunday against the Bulls, 120-93, as they won on the strength of DeAndre Jordan’s 17 points and 20 rebounds, and Jamal Crawford’s 26 points coming off the bench. The Clippers are now 15-3 since Blake Griffin went down, first with a partially torn left quadriceps, and then with a broken hand suffered while punching the team’s assistant equipment manager Matias Testi. The Clips were 16-13, and had lost 3 in a row when Griffin first hurt himself. Just sayin’…