The Phoenix Suns led nearly the entire game, but it was a close one all along. Golden State's Splash brothers lost a tight duel to the Suns newly ordained Slash Brothers.
It was a crazy game that felt like a back and forth affair, despite the Suns holding a lead for nearly the entire game. Several times, the Warriors got within a possession until the Suns pulled back out into the lead to finally win 106-102.
What a game!!!!
The Splash Brothers had a huge second half for the Warriors, putting in 47 points, 10 assists, 7 rebounds and 3 steals between them.
But the Slash Brothers played even better, with 45 points, 12 assists, 9 rebounds and 7 steals between them. Giving credit to the nightly Slash winner: Bledsoe had 24, 8, 8 and 3 by himself.
The Warriors didn't want the Suns to have any easy shots at the rim, twice fouling on breakaways and twice more hard-fouling on alley-oops at the rim. Definitely, the game plan was to try to keep the fans out of the game - a good strategy for the road team to employ.
Through the first quarter, the Suns fought through by making their jumpers and keeping their cool. It helps when you're 5-7 from the three-point line, and shooting 57% overall from the field.
Andrew Bogut was a focal point of the Warriors offense more than usual, scoring on all four possessions in which he was focused. He rebounded and put back his only miss.
But the Suns had a good 33-27 lead after one, thanks to the shooting.
The Warriors are a very talented team, and a young one like the Suns. Their second quarter lineup began sans Curry, but still boasted David Lee, Harrison Barnes and Klay Thompson as they tried to get back into the game. Dragic and the backups held them off though - even including Archie Goodwin thanks to the fast pace of the game. Archie played tight defense on Tony Douglas, giving Eric Bledsoe a rest while Curry was out.
One of my biggest keys to this game was the rebounding battle. Warriors are 7th in the NBA, while the Suns are near the bottom in total rebounds and last in second-chance points allowed. Somehow, the Suns kept up at 8-point lead despite getting worked on the boards by 5 at the midpoint of the second Q. That lead won't last if the Suns hot shooting (54% on threes, 51% overall).
And just as I write that, the Suns close the rebounding gap by just a bit and take a 12-point lead on some really nice drives by Bledsoe and shots by guys like Channing Frye.
By the 2:31 mark of the second, neither Curry nor Thompson had attempted a three-point field goal and the Warriors as a team had taken only 7. Their season averages for a half are 8 and 14, respectively.
The Suns had a 13-point lead, but then Curry scored 5 quick points and assisted on another, while Eric Bledsoe came up short on two bunnies in the lane. Bledsoe had played so hard that first half, holding Curry in check while putting up 11 and 5 with 2 steals of his own that, on that last play, hung his head before driving for the easy shot only to come up short. It's like Bledsoe's clock stopped a minute before the game clock did.
At the half, the Warriors were down only 6 in a game that shouldn't have been that close.
- Bledsoe with 11, 5 and 3 steals
- Dragic with 11, 3 and 2 steals
- Frye was on fire with 14 points on 5 shots from the field
- Plumlee had 4 points and 6 rebounds against the bigger Bogut
- Bogut and David Lee combined for 19 points, 17 rebounds in the half
- Curry and Thompson only had 14 points and 7 assists between them
The second half didn't start the way the Suns wanted, with Frye missing a contested three while Thompson made a wide open one to cut the Suns lead to three.
But then the Suns dialed in again and built the lead back to 9 on typical Suns plays. A little helter skelter, but always fun to watch.
When the Warriors pulled it again to 4, Goran Dragic took over and made a nifty layup between Curry and Bogut, followed by a corner three. He followed the corner three by yelling something at the Warrior bench and pumping his fist. Lead back to 9.
The Warriors managed to crawl back into the game, though, on some inspired play by Stephen Curry, who had only scored 5 points in the game's first 13 minutes, but then poured in 14 over the next 10 to pull the Warriors within 1. The Warriors tied it a couple minutes later on Speights three before the Suns closed out the quarter with a free throw.
End of three: Suns by only 1.
Can the Suns hold off the Warriors in the fourth? It will take some strong defense against Curry, who enters the quarter with 21 points.
The Warriors came back to win earlier this year after being down by 27, so the second-quarter Suns lead of 13 seems quite small and turned out that way.
The Suns opened with an 8-2 run with Bledsoe running point, before "the play" happened. Bogut blocked himself on a drive to the rim, only to get a phantom foul call. That turned into a 4-point play after he made the first FT, but then David Lee grabbed the o--board and Klay Thompson banged a three.
The Suns could have folded there, but Marcus Morris scored on three straight possessions (two midrange shots, and a FT) to help the Suns keep the lead despite a sick three by Curry.
Steph Curry played the entire second half, while the Suns had the luxury of resting Dragic for half the fourth while they kept the lead.
With five minutes left, the Warriors were only down one thanks to six more offensive rebounds than the Suns (11-5). Curry and Thompson had put them team on their backs, combining for 30 second half points by the 4-minute mark.
Bledsoe made a big three, and then assisted Frye on a big one to pull the Suns lead out to 7 a minute later.
Both teams were terrible on free throws, the Warriors missing 10 and the Suns missing 11, but were much better one threes (Suns 13-27 vs. Warriors 10-21), through the three minute mark.
The game got loose after that. I mean literally, with a lot of loose balls, and the game got back to a one possession game in between a lot of turnovers for both sides.
Steph Curry hit a crazy three to cut it to two but then Bledsoe and Frye hit big shots to seal the deal.