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Suns big night scares Warriors, but world champs still win 117-107

The Suns young guns played really hard, but still fell to the Warriors late.

Golden State Warriors v Phoenix Suns Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Phoenix Suns came out fighting hard all game, and didn’t let up. They scratched and clawed their way to leads in every quarter over the All-NBA Warriors, but in the end the Warriors were just too much to handle.

The Suns led 26-9 in the first, then as much as 94-88 with seven minutes left.

Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson took over from there and the Suns had not enough answers. The Warriors just got into cruise control and the Suns sputtered, and the final score was immaterial.

A 94-88 lead was suddenly a 100-111 deficit about four game minutes later (23-6 Warriors run). There’s a reason these dudes have won three championships in the last four years.

Players of the game for the Suns:

  • Deandre Ayton 23 points, 12 rebounds, 3 steals, 1 block
  • Kelly Oubre Jr. 25 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists
  • Josh Jackson 19 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal
  • Mikal Bridges 19 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals

They tried.

Starting lineups

First half

The Suns came out with energy, stealing a fast break pass and generally handling the GS attempt to blow the game open in the opening seconds.

Then the Suns blew the game open with hard charging efforts from Deandre Ayton and Josh Jackson in particular, taking a 26-9 lead before the Warriors went on a late 10-0 run to cut the Suns lead to 31-26 at the end of one.

What happened?

Well, the Suns got way up by attacking the basket on their end and attacking the passing lanes and ballhandlers on the other end.

They gave up a ton when they started settling for contested twos and threes, and Kevin Durant decided he was going to be All-NBA Kevin with a series on a one-on-one moves.

Still, Suns up 31-26 after one. Deandre Ayton has 12 points and 3 rebounds. Josh Jackson with 7 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists. Kevin Durant had 10 points.

The Suns held on to the lead for a long time — to under the 7-minute mark in the second quarter (39-38) — but an unfortunate series of missed layups/tapbacks followed by a Klay Thompson three gave the Warriors their first lead.

Soon the Suns found themselves all the way back down to 35% shooting (25% on threes) as the Warriors took the lead for good. The Suns were only still in the game on their hustle, taking 11 more shots than the Warriors.

But then the Warriors turned on and the Suns couldn’t make any shots, and all of a sudden it’s 60-53 Warriors at half.

Deandre Ayton lost his aggressiveness and the Suns got too ragged to get him the ball, and he finished the half with just 14 points and 7 rebounds (after 12/3 in the first 9 minutes). Josh Jackson didn’t score in the second quarter either.

Kelly Oubre Jr. was the Suns best player in the second quarter with 12 points and 8 rebounds going into the break.

Klay Thompson had 14 points on 3-4 on threes, 5-8 overall. Kevin Durant had 14 with 5 rebounds. Stephen Curry has only 7 points on 1-7 shooting.

Suns are only in the game thanks to taking 14 more shots than the Warriors, but made only 34% of them (including several point-blank misses)

Second half

Suns started the second half focused again, getting the ball in the paint to Ayton against Demarcus Cousins, pulling back to 60-59 then 62-61.

The rest of the quarter was a back and forth effort, with the Suns staying close and finally breaking through on a Kelly Oubre finish, taking the lead 85-82 after three.

Oubre has 19 and 11, Deandre Ayton 21 and 10 (including an end-to-end steal and finish) and Mikal Bridges had 13/3/3. Great night all around for these guys.

Draymond Green got himself ejected (second tech) during quarter timeout, and the Suns scored on their first two possessions of the 4th to take a 90-84 lead.

Nice to see the Suns continue to take it to these guys!

The Warriors took the lead back on some runouts, getting behind Suns defenders. Mostly it was triggered on Klay Thompson moving so well without the ball.

The Warriors stretched the lead with a 13-0 run to 101-94, forcing Kokoskov to call a pair of timeouts. The Suns committed turnovers and missed jumpers, once again sputtering when the hard drives weren’t there.