Neither team looked particularly amped to play this game, and that’s understandable. Devin Booker called it a “trap game” at shootaround for both teams, and basically said it would be a test of whose pre-break malaise affected them more.
The Suns made a point of using Booker in a ton of off-ball action in the halfcourt to open the game, daring Golden State’s young defense to rotate and contain him. Booker scored 9 points in the first quarter.
Wednesday also marked the debut of Jonah Bolden, who was signed quickly to a 10-day contract earlier in the day. With Deandre Ayton, Aron Baynes and Dario Saric still out, the Suns were in desperate need of frontcourt depth. Bolden, while listed at just 6-8, is big and strong enough to fill in at center as well.
The shot-making of Booker, the continued aggressiveness of Mikal Bridges, and the Warriors’ mistakes allowed the Suns to maintain a comfortable lead throughout the first half.
Unfortunately, further injury hit the Suns when Elie Okobo went into the lane and banged knees with a Warrior right at the beginning of the second period. Okobo was helped off the floor by the Suns’ training staff.
Golden State had 13 turnovers in the first half, and the Suns went into the break up, 58-50.
The action in the third period didn’t really start up until a Cam Johnson three-pointer with about 7:00 left. It was Johnson’s first three of the evening and the Suns’ eighth.
Still, Golden State continued to shoot themselves in the foot with turnovers despite shooting 55 percent from the field and keeping the Suns’ scorers in check. The Suns were generating decent threes but just didn’t make them. It was a classic “the lead is only how many??” game.
Another big Johnson three gave the Suns just a 7-point lead with a few minutes left in the period. The rookie is always ready to shoot, and it helped the Suns big time in the third.
Then ANOTHER Johnson three gave the Suns an 8-point lead, 84-76. It was Johnson’s third of the period after starting the game 0-2.
The Suns went into the fourth leading 87-76. A blowout sure would be nice to give the guys even more rest heading into the break.
Indeed, they opened the fourth with Okobo, Johnson, Bolden, Jevon Carter and Ty Jerome. Carter hit a big three to protect the lead, then forced a miss on Eric Paschall in the post, then got a steal — all in the course of two possessions. The guy has seriously won some games for the Suns this year.
After a Warriors timeout, Diallo checked back in for Jonah Bolden, alongside Kelly Oubre Jr.
New teammates are fired up for Jonah Bolden, who recovered after looking like he got fouled under the basket and laid the ball in. Then he got a block on the other end. "Good shit, Jonah!" Kelly Oubre yelled from the scorer's table. #Suns lead 94-82 with 9:30 to play.— Gina Mizell (@ginamizell) February 13, 2020
Diallo quickly got burned on a Warriors after-timeout play, as Andrew Wiggins got up for a lob dunk. Diallo just doesn’t have the size to do much about this:
A double-offensive rebound possession for Carter put the ball back in the Suns’ hands, and Jerome made a layup to put them up 8. No one has demanded more minutes during this stretch of bad injury luck for the Suns than Carter.
The Warriors got within 4 after a couple errant shot attempts by Oubre, who struggled from the field on Wednesday thanks to the type of early-clock jumpers without ball movement that Williams has chided.
After another Wiggins bucket coming out of a stop in play, the Warriors cut the lead to 5 with 2:30 to go. Oubre responded with a big three from the corner.
A moment later, Booker made a fantastic defensive play, rotating over to stop Chriss at the rim with a super physical bump. Booker wasn’t called for a foul initially, but he let Chriss know about it a little bit and got the technical foul. Williams called him over to calm him down with a win in sight, and the Suns took the game home.