The Suns fall on the road to the Warriors, 113-107, to bring the season series to a tie.
The Phoenix Suns were handed a 113-107 road loss by the Golden State Warriors. The season matchup between the two teams ends in a tie, 2-2. The Warriors remain in 6th while the Suns drop to 8th in the West, thanks in part the Dallas Mavericks' victory over the Indiana Pacers today.
Phoenix got off to a fast start, with Goran Dragic, Gerald Green and PJ Tucker leading the way. The Suns shot 60% from the field and 50% from three in the first quarter to take a 29-22 lead into the second. Goran Dragic registerd 6 points and 4 assists, while PJ Tucker pulled down 5 rebounds to go with his 5 points.
Alex Len as also very active early in his third straight start, as he drew a foul on a dunk attempt (split the free throws) and had a great block that led to a fastbreak score for Phoenix. He definitely made his presence felt on the defensive end as he contested several other shots with his length and energy. He's flashing more and more of his potential each game, folks.
The pace picked up even more in the second quarter, as the Suns struggled to defend the Warriors. Luckily, they were mostly able to keep up with Golden State on the offensive end, as they scored 32 points in the quarter to counter the Warriors' 34. The Warriors got within a point near the end of the half, but Goran Dragic hit two straight threes (the second one with 0.5 seconds left) to give the Suns a 5 point lead heading into the locker room, 61-56.
At the end of the first half, Dragic had 14 points and 6 assists, while Curry tallied 9 points and 3 assists. Gerald Green also had a great half with 14 points. David Lee was the leading scorer for Golden State with 12.
The Warriors came out firing in the third quarter, quickly erasing the Suns' 5 point lead and even going on a run to take a 9 point lead midway through the period. The Suns defense continued to give up open looks from three and Klay Thompson made them pay. Thompson, who had just 5 points at halftime, caught fire and scored 11 in 7 minutes to fuel a 13-2 run. Making things even worse for Phoenix was their struggle to score in the third half.
At the end of the third, Golden State led 94-78. The Suns gave up 38 points on 73% shooting to the Warriors in the third, while shooting just 31% themselves.
The Suns were able to chip into the Warriors' lead slowly but surely in the fourth, with Markieff Morris and Goran Dragic being aggressive on the offensive end. Phoenix eventually tightened up their defense a bit and cut away at the deficit to make it a 6 point game with just under 4 minutes left. The Suns even had the ball down 4 with 15 seconds left, but Goran Dragic stepped on the out of bounds line and gave the ball back to Golden State. Steve Blake missed two free throws (right after Andre Iguodala missed two) but the Suns couldn't capitalize, as Marcus Morris airballed a tough three. The Warriors held on and ended the night with a 113-107 victory.
This was always going to be a tough road game for the Suns against a healthy Warriors team. The game was essentially lost in the third quarter, which was the Warriors' highest scoring quarter of the season. The defense really needs a boost. Fortunately, Eric Bledsoe is returning in the next couple days.
It's going to be a tight race to the postseason.
The Suns visit the Warriors for the final game between the two Pacific Division teams.
The Phoenix Suns (36-25) pay a visit to the Golden State Warriors (39-24) for what could prove to be a very important game for each team's playoff positioning. A win tonight for Phoenix would bring them to a tie with the Golden State in the loss column and also give them the tiebreaker for the season, which could prove instrumental if both teams end the season with the same record.
The Warriors are playing well as of late, winning 8 of their last 10 and currently riding a 3 game winning streak. They currently have their #FullSquad together and are hoping to hit their stride as they regular season nears its end. The Suns, meanwhile, are winners of 6 of their last 10 and are coming off a huge home victory against the OKC Thunder, as they look to carry that momentum into a road victory tonight. Eric Bledsoe is returning on Wednesday, which will definitely help the Suns' regain some of their own #FullSquad swagger.
Who: Phoenix Suns @ Golden State Warriors
What: Round 4 of 4 between two Pacific Division teams vying for postseason berths.
When: 6pm PST/9pm EST (6pm AZ time)
Where: Oracle Arena, Oakland, CA
Why: Playoffs! Dragic vs. Curry! Pacific Division foes!
Round 1: Suns (106-102 at home as the Slash Bros. prevail over the Splash Bros.)
Round 2: Warriors (Warriors rout Phoenix 115-86 in the Suns' biggest loss of the season)
Per Game Stats:
Both players' shooting percentages are phenomenal, but the fact that Dragic's TS% and eFG% are even higher than Curry's shows what a tremendous season he's having. It's really a shame that only one of these guys was an All-Star this year.
Gerald Green is coming off a scintillating performance against the Thunder, when he scored a career-high 41 points. Both of these players are streaky volume shooters so it'll be interesting to see who will have the hot hand tonight.
There's no official word yet on whether Plumlee will be available for the game tonight. If he's not, Alex Len will likely get his third straight start and will have his work cut out for him against the imposing Andrew Bogut, one of the league's premier defensive centers. The Suns' big men will have to battle Bogut hard on the boards.
Both Morris brothers were great against the Thunder on Thursday night and the Suns could surely use similar performances tonight. The Warriors' bench hasn't been very good this season, but their play has been much better lately. The twins will have to provide some scoring off the bench and outduel the likes of Draymond Green, Jermaine O'Neal, and Jordan Crawford.
With Eric Bledose still out until Wednesday night, Ish Smith will be the primary backup for Dragic and will need to play well against the Warriors' newest player, the very capable Steve Blake. Smith should be able to use his speed and quickness to make Blake work on the defensive end.
Note: I'll be at Oracle Arena covering this game and I'm hoping to get a chance to speak with a few of the Suns players to get some quotes. Be sure to follow me (@sreekyshooter) and Bright Side of the Sun (@BrightSideSun) on Twitter to keep up with live coverage.
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Thanks to Crown Royal, your friendly neighborhood Suns blog is able to offer some great giveaways to twitter contest winners in the coming week!
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