WASHINGTON — Warriors coach Don Nelson, he of more than 31 years experience on the bench, knows when he's part of a special moment. And he knows how rare they can be.
So going into Tuesday's game against the lowly Washington Wizards, his expectations were in limbo.
"The big event already happened, as far as I'm concerned," Nelson said before the game. "It was such an emotional win to tie Lenny (Wilkens) in Toronto. That was a pretty special moment for me. I don't think we can duplicate that one."
The Warriors didn't come close Tuesday, getting blown out by Washington 112-94. Golden State (23-53) had seven players who combined to shoot 39.3 percent from the floor. Guard Anthony Morrow's 17 points were the team's only bench points.
Nelson remains tied with Wilkens for the most coaching victories in NBA history (1,332), and he'll have another chance to break the record today at Minnesota. The Timberwolves are one of two losing teams left on the schedule.
Golden State didn't have guard Monta Ellis for Tuesday's game, the fifth consecutive game he's missed because of the flu. The results from his blood tests came back and didn't show any abnormalities, so it is just the flu as far as doctors can tell.
In his condition, Ellis probably couldn't have given the Warriors the life they needed.
"We kind of took a mental blow before we even stepped on the court," said forward Anthony Tolliver, who had 10 points on 3-for-13 shooting with six rebounds and four assists.
"Finding out that (center) Ronny (Turiaf) was sick and finding out (guard) C.J. (Watson) wasn't going to be able to play, we didn't come out with the intensity we should have. They jumped on us and didn't stop."
Wilkens broke Red Auerbach's all-time record on Jan. 6, 1995, against the Washington Bullets. But Washington wouldn't allow Nelson top break Wilkens' record Tuesday.
The Wizards, who never trailed and led by as much as 28, dominated the Warriors inside. They doubled up the Warriors' 26 points in the paint and out-rebounded the visitors by 21.
Center JaVale McGee came off the bench and posted career-highs in points (25) and rebounds (15). Point guard Shaun Livingston, now starting for the Wizards, made his first nine shots and finished with 21 points, eight assists and five rebounds.
"It's like a 6-foot-8 and under team," Livingston said of the Warriors. "We did what we were supposed to do."
Nelson said his approach to the last hurdle of the record chase is "whatever happens, happens" because he has already gotten a special moment out of it.
Dancing with his team after an emotional win over Toronto was the highlight. He also talked to Wilkens on Monday.
Even the players said the pressure is off, with Tolliver predicting the Warriors will get the win to put Nelson over the top.
Nelson said the remaining focus is playing to their potential, even if that means losing.
"We still have to finish and play games," swingman Reggie Williams said. "We plan on winning these games. Even if we break the record, we plan on winning the next one after that and the next one after that."
Timberwolves, 4 p.m. TV: CSNBA.
Coaching to the top
Most wins by an NBA coach: