The Suns started three rookies.
The Warriors started four All-Stars, at least two of whom will end up in the Hall of Fame.
The Warriors won.
- Stephen Curry with 34, 9 and 4
- Kevin Durant with 25
- 12 different Warriors scored
- Deandre Ayton with 25 and 10
- Devin Booker with 20 and 6
- Kelly Oubre Jr. with 15 and 3
- T.J. Warren with 24, 4 and 4
Happy New Year!
The game opened with a De’Anthony Melton steal and fastbreak finish, but the Warriors went on a 7-0 runs after that (4 on second chances), to put the Suns on their heels from then on.
The Suns did make some shots, draining 4 of their first 7 threes, to keep within a score of the Warriors most of the quarter. The game was 22-20 when the Warriors started subbing for the bench.
Devin Booker was aggressive, and so was De’Anthony Melton (5 points, 2 assists, 3 steals in the first quarter), but Deandre Ayton was not. He didn’t box out well, and the Warriors had a 9-5 edge on boards in the first nine minutes.
The Suns were down only 25-24 when Dragan Bender (uh oh) came in to back up Deandre Ayton, with Richaun Holmes out (flu). I’d have tried Eric Moreland here, but that’s just me I guess. Bender had ups and downs.
Suns down only 31-27 after one.
The second quarter opened with the Suns missing jumpers while the Warriors made theirs, plus a Curry and-one on a breakaway.
The Warriors jumped out to a 39-31 lead on a Curry three, but the Suns closed it on an 8-0 run to tie using hustle plays to score/draw fouls at the rim.
The Suns finally started feeding Ayton in the post and the Warriors blitzed into double teams hard, helping get the Warriors into foul trouble.
Warriors double teams on Ayton were effective though, not giving him room to score or pass while remaining vertical, and at this point Ayton isn’t savvy enough to force fouls anyway.
The Warriors blew it open in the blink of an eye with their defense, blocking Booker on consecutive drives for fast break run-outs and defending the heck out the half-court otherwise.
Just as the Suns hoped they could make a game of it, Stephen Curry began cooking and then Andre Iguodala made a three and got a steal on Booker for an and-one.
That’s a 24-7 run to close the half.
Suns down 69-52 at the half.
The Suns came out strong, behind T.J. Warren’s quick seven points to pull the Suns back to within 11, but the Warriors did Warriors things again and the Suns were suddenly hanging on for dear life.
Deandre Ayton had a very active quarter, with 13 points on pick and roll finishes, putting him at 23 and 9 after three.
By late in the third quarter, 11 different Warriors had scored at least a basket, with 10 of them scoring at least 5 five points.
Jordan Bell is the latest energy big who scores every time he touches the ball, going 5-5 in his stint with nearly all hard dunks on great passes.
The Suns fell apart again at the end of the third, giving up hustle plays to the Warriors and a three at the buzzer for a 21-point Warriors lead after three.
For some reason, Steve Kerr put Stephen Curry back in the game to start the fourth with a 21-point lead on a struggling Suns team. Steph made a pair of threes quickly. Sure, Steve.