What we learned as Wiggs stars in Warriors' win over Wizards


SAN FRANCISO -- Once down by 15 points in the second quarter Monday night at Chase Center, the Warriors escaped their Super Bowl blues and turned it on to the tune of a 135-126 win over the Washington Wizards.

Defense was optional much of the night, for both teams. While the Warriors shot 57.8 percent from the floor and 50 percent from deep, the Wizards made 60 percent of their shots and ended the night with a 42.9 percent clip from 3-point range.

Andrew Wiggins and Klay Thompson led the way, combining to score 56 points on 22-for-44 from the field.

Was this a perfect win? Far from it. Will the Warriors (29-28) take it to get back over .500? Damn right.

Here are three takeaways from the Warriors' last home game before the NBA All-Star break.

All-Star Wiggs

In Steph Curry's absence, there have been a handful of big Klay Thompson games. The same goes with Jordan Poole. But Andrew Wiggins? 

That's a different story. 

Wiggins scored a team-high 29 points to go with seven rebounds and four assists. That's by far his best offensive performance in 2023, and his best since he initially missed 15 straight games to an adductor injury and two illnesses. Wiggins scored 36 points against the Houston Rockets on Dec. 3 before missing the next month. Going into the Warriors' win, he had only scored 20 or more points once since then.

And it was about how Wiggins was scoring. He feasted in the paint and had no problem putting his body into 7-foot-3 Kristaps Porzingis. Wiggins went 12-for-23 from the field and 3-for-6 behind the 3-point line. Efficiency, efficiency, efficiency.

He turned a corner in his career by becoming this kind of player for the Warriors. Wiggins was a plus-21 in the win, which easily fit the eye test. The Warriors have been searching near and far for consistency this season. Wiggins playing at this level will help bring them to where they believe they should be.

Moody Minutes

As a 19-year-old rookie, Moses Moody stepped in and played crucial minutes for the Warriors last season in the Western Conference Finals, jumping Damion Lee in the rotation with Gary Payton II out to a fractured left elbow. The expectation was Moody's role would grow exponentially in Year 2 with Payton in Portland. That hasn't been the case. 

Moody has received numerous DNPs (Did Not Play) this season and has seen his spot diminish as the season goes on. How can he get more minutes? By doing exactly what he did early Monday night. 

The young wing was all over the place making the kind of hustle plays that earned trust last season. In the first half, he played six-plus minutes and was a plus-15 in plus/minus with two rebounds, one steal and one point.

Though Moody only took one shot, a missed 3-pointer, and scored only one point, he was a plus-11 in eight minutes. Those are the kind of impactful minutes they need from him going forward.

Strength In Numbers?

The Warriors only had 10 players available, and nine saw action against the Wizards. As the Warriors continue to be without Curry and Payton for the time being, as well as Andre Iguodala, their win over the Wizards will serve as the standard of what they need out of the bench. 

Here's how that group ended the night.

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Donte DiVincenzo was the bench's leading scorer with 17 points, followed by 14 from JaMychal Green. They weren't alone. Ty Jerome gave the Warriors nine points, followed by seven from Jonathan Kuminga and one from Moody.

Overall, the bench scored 48 points between four players, and the group combined for a plus-15. They went 18-for-25 from the field (72 percent) and 10-for-15 on 3-pointers (66.7 percent). Steve Kerr will take that every day of the week.

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