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Recap: Suns down Warriors in dead-GM bounce game, 117-109

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The Phoenix Suns beat the world champion Warriors on Monday night in preseason game #4.

2018 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The Phoenix Suns made 14 threes and they downed the Warriors in their best game of the preseason!

The Suns front line of Ryan Anderson, Trevor Ariza and Deandre Ayton all had very good games, and the Suns get to finish a weird, emotional day with a win over the world champs, 117-109 in Oakland.

Before the tip

How do the players respond when the guy who brought every one of them onto the team got fired for it?

How will these Suns players go out there within hours of knowing the owner was so disappointed in their collection of talent he wouldn’t even give them a season to play well?

That’s what we get to find out as the Suns go into Oakland to play the back-to-back World Champions, a team that demolished the Kings, who’d just beaten the Suns a week ago.

And to make matters worse, the Warriors decided to rest All-Star Klay Thompson for the game, going into battle with only a pair of MVP candidates, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.

Starters

For the 3rd time in 4 games, the Suns have the same starting lineup.

Out

Warriors: Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala and Shawn Livingston all getting rest. Draymond Green rehabbing knew.

Suns: Mikal Bridges (elbow) and Devin Booker (hand) will miss the rest of the preseason. Ryan McDonough out (life).

Opening quarter

The Suns began the game hot (Trevor Ariza 3 on opening possession) and stayed hot all quarter. Defensively, Deandre Ayton got a stop and a block on the Warriors first two shots.

Ayton had just 6 points, and 1 each of rebound, steal and block. It was the shooters who were quite hot. Trevor Ariza had 11 points (and 3 assists) in the opening quarter. He and Anderson made 5 of 8 threes in the quarter, while Josh Jackson made his only attempt, as did Isaiah Canaan.

The Suns finished 7-10 on threes — by far their best stretch of the preseason — and had a 40-32 lead after one quarter. Over the world champs. With Kevin Durant and Steph Curry playing well.

Dead GM bounce!

Second quarter

The Suns kept the lead as the quarter opened, building the lead to as high as 51-39. T.J. Warren had 9 off the bench, including making 1 of 2 threes.

The Warriors pulled to within 51-45 on a quick spurt from Durant and Curry. The Suns tried desperately to hold off the world champs, but the score kept getting closer and closer.

The Warriors helped themselves by draining 60% of their shots, hindered only by their 10 turnovers in less than 2 quarters.

Steph Curry exploded for 10 quick second quarter points and suddenly the Warriors were right back in it.

After going 7-10 on threes in the opening quarter, the greedy Suns made only 2 of their 12 threes in the second quarter.

Hence, tie game at 56-56 very quickly after a 20-4 run by the Warriors from the 7-minute to 1-minute mark.

The Suns recovered to close the quarter with a 5-1 run to go into halftime up 61-57.

At least they got two were competitive quarters here in Oakland!

Halftime stars

  • Deandre Ayton 12 points, 2 rebounds, 1 each of assist, steal and block
  • Trevor Ariza 12 points, 3 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 rebounds
  • T.J. Warren 9 points, 2 assists and a steal
  • Isaiah Canaan 7 points, 3 assists

Comment by DeMarcus Cousins on Ayton: “I look at footwork. And he’s going to be very good.”

Comment by the Warriors announcers on Ayton: “He does not look overwhelmed.”

Another on Ayton: “Deandre is showing a lot of different facets to his game.”

Comment by the Warriors announcers midway through the second quarter (Suns had 54-45 lead): “If Phoenix keeps playing like this, they’re going to win a lot of games.”

Second half

Time to come back down to earth right?

Nah.

The quarter opened with the refs calling an offensive foul (the 3rd on Steph on the night) and the Warriors exploding in response. Like, EXPLODING. Steve Kerr got ejected in the arguing. Somehow, Steph and Kevin Durant stayed in the game.

The Suns took the opportunity and ran with it. They blew out of the gate with a 12-2 run to start the second half, taking a 73-59 lead on the World Champs.

You might think the Suns laid down at that point, or at least took their foot off the gas, but they didn’t.

Warriors GM Bob Myers on the Suns: “They look like they’ve got a direction on offense this year. And they got some vets. Adding Ryan Anderson and obviously adding Trevor Ariza... sprinkling in veterans with all the youth, I think that’s a good idea.”

The Suns lead blew up to 19 points (87-68, then 93-75) behind the return of the three point shot for Ariza and Anderson just after Myers talked about them.

The Suns lead was just 12 by the end of the quarter though, as things got a bit sloppy again when the vets took a breather.

De’Anthony Melton made some nice offensive plays bridging the quarter. I like what he does offensively to support his good defense.

Still, a TWELVE POINT LEAD for the Suns! With KD and Steph playing 24 minutes each.

Former Suns guard Tyler Ulis got time in the 4th and had some easy assists, but also got blocked by Ayton without the big man even leaving his feet. Ayton block/stopped it and pulled it down in one motion. Ulis has these weird little high pig tails on his head these days...

Warriors announcers: “I think Suns fans are going to be happy with Deandre Ayton.”

Dragan Bender didn’t play until the fourth quarter, with the Suns holding a 13-point lead at the 8:01 mark. And they didn’t immediately lose ground on the score!

Davon Reed had 8 points and 3 rebounds in limited time.

Suns big nights

  • Ryan Anderson 18 points (4-7 threes), 5 rebounds
  • Trevor Ariza 17 points (4-8 threes), 2 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals
  • Deandre Ayton 18 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals
  • T.J. Warren 15 points, 2 assists, 2 steals
  • Team: 51% shooting overall, 14-33 on threes (42%), 29 assists on made 42 field goals