- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The numbers are small, huge and daunting.

Golden State comes to Verizon for Tuesday night’s game against the Washington Wizards with an avalanche-based offense. It is No. 1 in the following categories: Points scored (118.2), field goal percentage (49.9), adjusted field goal percentage (56.8), points per possession (1.35), and assists (an astonishing 31 per game).

That, in large part, is why the 50-9 Warriors are the second team in NBA history to reach 50 wins before playing 60 games in back-to-back seasons (Bulls: 1995-96 and 96-97).

So, where to begin when trying to stop them?

“I don’t know,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. “I really don’t.”

The opening matchups should look like this:

John Wall—Steph Curry

Klay Thompson—Bradley Beal

Otto Porter—Kevin Durant

Markieff Morris—Draymond Green

Zaza Pachulia—Marcin Gortat

The last time Washington faced Durant at home was Nov. 10, 2015. Durant played just 17 minutes because of a strained hamstring. He scored 14 points and had 10 rebounds in that time. Porter guarded him then, too.

“Just try to get him off his spots,” Porter said. “Pressure him. He doesn’t like to be pressured. Just make it tough for him. He’s seven-foot, so, just try to make sure he’s away from the goal when he shoots. Curry does a good — they all do a good job of finding him in transition. Just have to keep our eye on him.”

For the first time, Brooks will be trying to limit his former player. Durant learned under Brooks for seven seasons in Oklahoma City, eventually becoming the MVP in 2014. Monday, Brooks suggested a key way for Washington to slow Durant would be for Warriors coach Steve Kerr to rest Durant since Golden State is playing three games in four nights. Joking aside, Brooks explained the lack of flaws in Durant’s offensive game and that among the complications against the Warriors is not being demoralized when they make head-shaking shots.

“They’ve got so many weapons, but we’re going to challenge our team to do it,” Brooks said. “We’re not going to concede because they’re the best team, they’ve got some of the best shooters. They take a lot of tough shots that go in. But, like I said, but that team is more than an offensive team. That team has toughness. That team is mentally tough and they just have that edge on the defensive end also. What they do is beautiful to watch with all the threes and passing, but their defense is tough.”

There is one important element: Bumping Golden State players off their routes on offense will be key. This is something the Wizards did not do against a much lesser offense, that of the Philadelphia 76ers, last week. After that game, Brooks complained that Philadelphia “got anything it wanted.” If that happens against the Warriors, Washington will be on the express route to a third consecutive loss.

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