WASHINGTON -- The Stephen Curry experience can be disorienting, especially on a night when he goes for 51 points. The pace is so fast and so highlight replete that life starts to look warped. John Wall can score 41 points with 10 assists and barely warrant a mention. Draymond Green can claim his 10th triple-double of the season, to go along with five blocks, and not receive postgame questions about it.
Take Curry's 25-point first quarter, or more specifically, the shot that got him to 20. Curry skulked himself into a Washington inbounds pass, and poked the ball away from Wall. Wizards forward Jared Dudley dove at the loose ball like a man stealing home, dislodging the rock into the air. From there, Curry tapped the ball to himself, calmly turned around and roped in his sixth 3-point shot of the game.
The play was amazing, but no less than the crowd reaction. The Washington fans leaped up and cheered as though their guy had hit a buzzer-beater. The noise from the Washington crowd was enough to make you question where you were. Was this the road? What are sports allegiances? It would seem many of the people who cheered the 3 were also the people cheering when Wall drew Curry's third foul. They just got lost in the action, beholding a play unforgettable enough to make them briefly forget themselves.
Green, through a chuckle, said, "I'm not sure if the away crowd's cheering for us, or if we have a big contingent following us. Maybe a little bit of both."
As Klay Thompson reflected, "Now we've transformed a lot of Warriors fans over the years. It's really special. We like to live in the moment, enjoy the now."
This particular moment continues to astound and confound, especially in regard to Thompson's MVP teammate. Curry has enjoyed six quarters this season in which he has scored more than 20 points -- and all this despite Curry missing 14 fourth quarters to rest.
Currently, Curry averages a wisp under 30 points per game on 68.2 percent true shooting. For historical perspective, Michael Jordan's highest true shooting mark was 61.4 percent, back in 1989. In short, Curry is scoring at Jordan's rate but far more efficiently. Keep in mind, the league average in true shooting was identical then to what it is now. You can quibble with why this is so and complain about how "soft" the modern NBA is, but you can't argue with the basic, crazy fact that Curry is scoring more efficiently than MJ ever did.
It's just another way life is skewed around Golden State.
After Wednesday's game, Warriors coach Steve Kerr's criticisms indirectly spoke to the skew. You would think that, after sweeping the trip, winning by double digits and reaching a 45-4 record, Kerr would be happy. Not exactly.
With a hint of chagrin, Kerr conveyed how sloppy the Warriors' play was.
"It's what I told the team after the game," he began. "We can win in the regular season turning it over and making careless plays because we can score. Obviously, we score at a good clip. What won us a title last year was a combination of our offense and our defense."
Kerr then continued to refocus from the result to the process by saying, "So our challenge through this rest of the regular season is to try to cut our turnovers back. It's something we harp on constantly, but it's really easy to get caught in the track meet and start trying crazy things when you're up 13, 14 points and you don't really feel threatened."
Kerr is correct. Golden State's defense also didn't look sharp for much of the game. In many ways, the Wizards played well against a team that tossed the ball around and didn't bring it defensively. In the ways that matter, it didn't.
Again, skewed. The Warriors played poorly, their opponent played admirably and Golden State won by 13. There might even be honor in how the Wizards tried so hard while so clearly doomed. There was just little they could do about Golden State's 20 3-pointers falling on their heads.
This is a departure from how basketball games are supposed to work.
The Warriors are set to visit the White House on Thursday to commemorate last season's championship. After the game, Curry was asked about meeting the president. "I already met President Obama, so I'm not really excited," he joked. It was followed by a smile, tagged with, "I'm just messing." He was kidding, but it's an open question as to who's more excited to see whom. Obama, a huge NBA fan, invited Curry for a golfing excursion over the summer.
This is the world in which Curry and the Warriors are living. They play badly and win handily. They're on the road and getting cheered as if it's Oracle Arena. Meeting the president isn't so unusual. Right now, they're living in a moment removed from real life.