The Phoenix Suns fall to 26-6 after a prime time loss to the shorthanded Golden State Warriors (27-6) by a score of 116-107 at the Footprint Center in downtown Phoenix. The Suns were unable to overcome a cold night from Booker and a hot second half from Stephen Curry and Otto Porter Jr.
At the start of this one, the Warriors outmatched the Suns in the hustle department. Golden State is known to impose their will as all great teams do, and Phoenix head coach Monty Williams acknowledged before the game that the game might turn out that way: “It’s just that, plain and simple. Who can win the war of wills?”
The first quarter was all about the Warriors outworking the Suns, and it’s illustrated well by this sequence from Draymond Green:
Pretty awesome sequence from Draymond pic.twitter.com/22QfZQ5UHp— Jackson Frank (@jackfrank_jjf) December 25, 2021
Between the Green sequence and the next clip, the Suns showed a lot more of the heart needed to win a game like this. The stars led the way from Chris Paul getting two trips to the line via signature rip-through, Deandre Ayton asserting himself in the low post, and Devin Booker doing the dirty work here on his way to an and-one:
The final stretch of the half was a joy to watch: back-and-forth, Suns defense looking great, Steph Curry hitting otherworldly shots, and CP3 toying with rookies. Here’s Paul shaking Jonathan Kuminga’s press defense on his way to an exclamation mark on the end of the half:
The second half started off the same way the first did with the Warriors asserting their will, as they so often do in third quarters. The Suns turned the ball over more than they’re accustomed to, and Curry made them pay.
The Suns fought back throughout different points of the half, but Booker’s cold night and Paul’s cold second half were too much to overcome. Paul also had a key turnover, losing his own handle with just under two and a half minutes in the game that set up Porter Jr.’s 8-0 run to seal the deal.
- The turnover margin felt like the differentiating factor in this one; Warriors had 9 to the Suns’ 13. Payne had five of those 13 for Phoenix.
- The good: Paul with 21 points on 7-14 shooting and 8 assists, and Ayton with 18 points on 8-10 shooting.
- The bad: Booker with 13 points on 5-19 shooting in his 40 minutes
- A win should be within reach when Curry tallies 33 points on 10-27 shooting, but it’s tough when his surrounding cast (Porter Jr., Payton II, and Kuminga in this case) combine for 45 points on 17-26 shooting.
Phoenix (26-6) will host Memphis (19-14) on Monday at 7 p.m. The Grizzlies will be on the second game of a back-to-back after visiting Sacramento on Sunday.