The Suns now have the best record in all the NBA land, at 18-3. Which is tied for the best start in franchise history.
Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton and the Suns stifling defense won the game, even without Devin Booker (hamstring, left in second quarter). The Warriors, with the best offense in the league, scored only 42 points in the whole second half.
Suns are back in The Valley jerseys for this matchup of top seeds in the West. In a nice twist in the NBA these days, both teams are as healthy as they’re gonna be right now. No big names out that helped them collectively win 35 of 40 contests so far.
Deandre Ayton scores the first two buckets for the Suns right there in the paint on turnaround hook shots. On the other end, Kevon Looney scored the Warriors first two buckets on nice screen action to free him from Ayton for easy layups. Just like we all drew up, right?
Ayton was very active early on the glass, turning four offensive rebounds into Suns seven points for an early 18-15 lead. Ayton had 9 points and 4 rebounds in the first 7 minutes.
Then Jordan Poole happened, scoring eight quick points to give the Warriors a 25-22 lead late in the first quarter. Poole already has 13 points on 5/6 shooting in 8 minutes (he averages 18 per whole game this year). The Suns have been leaving him fairly well alone — all the shots have been wiiiiide open. Timeout Suns.
Timeout didn’t help. Poole made another three coming out of timeout right after Cameron Johnson missed an open three.
Suns defense is definitely not there right now from this second unit — feels like parting seas on every drive. Warriors scored on something like their 10th straight possession, now lead 32-26.
After yet another three, this one a contested pullup by Otto Porter, the Warriors take a 35-31 lead after one quarter. They have made 6 of 12 threes (versus Suns 3 of 7). Warriors are shooting 61% from the field overall. I guess the Suns should be happy it’s only a 4-point deficit?
The Suns started the second quarter with two straight turnovers, but luckily forced the Warriors into a pair of their own.
Then something weird happened — the Suns went small to the Warriors’ small — as neither team played a center for a bit. The effect sped up the Suns even faster and they cut into the Warriors lead to force a timeout.
But then the Warriors went on a bit of a run with their second unit making a ton of shots and the Suns second unit without a center....did not. The Warriors lead ballooned to 10.
In the middle of it, Devin Booker strained his hamstring and left the game, with the Suns down 48-43. Later, the Suns said Booker would not return.
By mid-quarter they’d cut it back to two, then Chris Paul took only his third shot of the game to tie the score at 50-50.
The rest of the quarter became a defensive effort on both sides with a lot of stops (and some missed free throws by both teams).
With the game tied at 54-54, Deandre Ayton had a great sequence of blocking a Stephen Curry side-step-back three and then a deep-seal for two to give the Suns the lead, 56-54. Mikal Bridges capped off the defensive binge with a block on a Steph drive.
At the half, the Suns lead 56-54.
Ayton leads the Suns with 11 points, and Devin Booker (rest in hammy) is second on the Suns with 10. Jordan Poole leads the Warriors with 18 and Otto Porter Jr. has 12. They’ve combined for 8-13 threes.
No Booker for the rest of the game. Cam Johnson starts in his place for the start of the third quarter. Suns can really use his length against the Warriors wings.
The Suns came out focused and took a 69-61 lead on the back of Chris Paul’s brilliance and Deandre Ayton’s intensity on both ends of the court.
But the Warriors pushed their way back into the game with their second unit (again, like the first half) and soon it was down to a one-point lead, 72-71. The Suns decided for some reason to play an all-bench unit with Elfrid Payton, Cameron Payne, Landry Shamet, Cameron Johnson and JaVale McGee... to bad results.
Soon enough, the game was tied at 75-75 before Cam Payne made a big three. Gary Payton Jr. is just manhandling guys and getting in for offensive rebounds.
The Suns had a 80-78 lead going into the fourth. Steph Curry is shooting only 4-19 on the game, with Mikal Bridges guarding him most of the time. The Suns schemes on Curry has opened the other Warriors for open shots, however, as they are shooting 25-50 from the field.
The Suns defense really stepped up in the second half, forcing the Warriors into turnovers and missed highly contested shots.
Suns win 104-96!