Warriors blister Suns in Pacific Division blowout
ORACLE ARENA — With the weight of a season-long, seven-game road trip looming over them, the Warriors desperately needed to leave home with momentum.
Behind Stephen Curry‘s triple-double and game-high 13 rebounds, the Warriors won their fourth-straight game Friday, beating the Suns 115-86.
Last year the Warriors went 6-1 on their long road trip; a turning point for the team that eventually clinched a playoff berth. Coach Mark Jackson told SFBay that heading into the road trip with a clean win at home is extremely important:
“It was a quality win for us. …You never know what can happen on the road so it was important for us to take care of business at home and hopefully it will propel us into special things during this east coast trip.”
The Pacific Division battle started fast, and so did Klay Thompson‘s foul trouble. Thompson picked up three fouls in the first six minutes of play, forcing Jackson to bring Kent Bazemore into the game earlier than normal.
Bazemore and Green came in with intensity, forcing turnovers and getting into the paint, helping the Warriors create a six-point lead in the first quarter.
Golden State lost focus early in the second quarter, allowing Phoenix to crawl back within two points. But Thompson came back into the game with patience and focus knocking down shots and drawing fouls instead of committing them.
On consecutive trips down the floor, midway through the second quarter, Thompson passed up his usual three-point catch-and-shoot look to take the extra dribble and make good on mid-range shots, putting the Warriors ahead 39-32.
Stephen Curry fought for a long rebound with just over four minutes to play in the first half and shot a deep two on the fast break. Miles Plumlee, trying to recover, threw a bad pass and Curry drove hard to the paint, extending the Warriors lead to 14 points.
David Lee, who finished with 17 points and seven rebounds, said he looked at the stats to see how many fouls he had, saw Curry’s stats and couldn’t believe it:
“He did an unbelievable job. Once again, he’s such a good player. …we all know it and it was just another great game by him leading us.”
With 59 seconds left in the half, Curry drove baseline and passed to a slashing Andrew Bogut for a mean two-handed slam to put Golden State on top 56-38.
While the Warriors defense was good, the Suns offense was nowhere to be found. By the final buzzer only one Suns player, P.J. Tucker was in double figures with 11 points.
Phoenix was held to just 9-of-28 shooting in the third quarter despite snagging offensive rebounds for eight second-chance opportunities.
Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said every team has a game where they can’t do anything right, even saying that he never felt like they had a chance:
“There was never a situation where we really felt like, hey, if we could just cut it down … our guys just were not alert tonight.”
Meanwhile, Curry notched a 14-point, 16-assist, 13-rebound triple-double before the final quarter ever started.
With an all-reserve line-up, the Warriors continued to keep Phoenix from getting back into game in the final quarter, and Golden State finished the night with every active player on the roster scoring.
Green finished the night with 11 points off the bench for the Warriors and said having everybody contribute offensively is nice, but the defense was where they really won the game:
“For everyone to score thats great, but I think the most important thing is they had one guy in double figures and that really shows our growth.”
The Warriors, now 18-13 overall (7th in Western Conference), will play Cleveland, Orlando, Miami, Atlanta, Washington, Milwaukee, and Brooklyn before returning home to face the Celtics on Jan. 10.
The Warriors held the Suns to season-lows in field goal percentage (.360) and three-point percentage (.174). … The Warriors bench scored a season-high 47 points tonight, outscoring the Suns’ bench 47-42, the sixth time they Warriors’ reserves have done so this season, going 5-1 in those games. … Stephen Curry notched the third triple-double of his career (second this season) scoring 14 points while setting career-highs in rebounds (13) and assists (16) in 34 minutes. He became the first Warriors to post those figures since Guy Rodgers on Oct. 26, 1962, the Warriors second game in the Bay Area. … Draymond Green finished with 11 points and six rebounds, the second time in his career he’s scored in double figures during the regular season.