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Rapid Recap: Suns win the battles, blast Warriors by 29 points, 134-105

The Suns have their second straight blowout win over a team many think could win the Western Conference

NBA: Golden State Warriors at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

For only the 4th game of the season for both teams, we saw a great deal of chippiness. Indeed, Klay Thompson got himself ejected in the third quarter, a heated battle that cleared the benches. To wit: 7 technical fouls were called in 5 minutes of play.

The Suns never lost their heads, and from that point on a close Suns lead (they were up almost the entire game) became a blowout in the Suns favor very quickly.

Tonight was the latest example, including the blowout of the Clippers two days ago and the second-half comeback against the Mavericks, that tell you the Suns have definitely NOT lost their mojo. They are not broken. This is the same team mentality we’ve seen for two years now. That Mavs series is history (at least till next May).

After the win over the Warriors, the Suns are now 3-1 with their only loss in overtime in Portland.

Devin Booker scored 30+ points for the third straight game (34), and Chris Paul nearly posted a triple double in a resurgent night (16/9/7). Deandre Ayton had 16/14/4 and Jock Landale had 16/5 off the bench.

Stephen Curry led the Warriors with 21 points as 6 Warriors scored 12+ in the blowout loss.

Let’s see how it unfolded.


For the first time ever, if you can believe it, the Golden State Warriors best five will start a game against the Suns best five with Chris Paul.

First Half

These throwback Phoenix Suns unis are NICE and they pop as well as you’d think they would. Ayton started the Suns scoring with a short turaround and then scored on a pair of free throws. Clearly the Suns were targeting Ayton early.

And then finally, Chris Paul made a big shot and Ayton drew a second foul on Looney on a second aggressive drive. The Warriors replaced Looney with young James Wiseman. That didn’t go well for the Warriors — Ayton grabbed rebounds over top of him, and the Suns targeted him on defense. Timeout Warriors, Suns up 15-12.

The Suns had a healthy lead — 20-12 and 23-16 — before second units started coming in. The Warriors upped the intensity and tried to pull back into the game with their backups against the Suns backups.

Both coaches indicated pregame that rotations are still in flux, and especially Warriors coach Kerr said he wouldn’t settle on a playoff-level rotation until possibly late in the season. He said specifically this was the time of season to play the kids (Wiseman, Moody, Poole and Kuminga), so don’t be surprised to see a lot of them from here out. Former Sun Ty Jerome also played with that second unit.

Suns led 37-29 after one quarter. Booker leads the team with 10/2/2, Ayton has 6/6, and Cam Payne has 6/2/2 off the bench. Seven players scored for each team. No one on Golden State had more than Wiggins’ 7 points.

Jordan Poole started putting on an offensive show in the second quarter with all kinds of smooth moves (including a banked three, and 5/6 overall from the field). The Warriors quickly tied up the game (39-39) on a three pointer by Moses Moody. What was once a 10-point lead was now gone.

The bench recovered a bit, taking a 44-39 lead back before giving way to waves of starters on both sides.

Several more times, the Warriors tried to take control of the game but each time they tied it the Suns went on a little run to keep the lead. They forced a Warriors timeout on a putback to get back to a 60-55 lead with 2:40 to go.

Ayton now has a double double (10 points, 11 rebounds in 14 minutes) despite uncharacteristically missing a lot of close shots (3-9 from the field). He’s been quite aggressive.

The Warriors kept coming though, and tied it up one more time at 66-66 on an impossible Steph three (from my angle, he had no direct line to the basket but took and made the shot anyway), but the Suns answered with a pair of threes of their own to close out the half.

Suns up 72-66 at halftime.

  • Chris Paul’s shot is BACK. He’s 4/5 in the first half, including 3/3 on threes, for 11 points. He’s also go 6 assists and 3 rebounds.
  • Ayton is playing big and aggressive with 12 points and 11 rebounds at half, with only one foul committed (back to normal on that end).
  • Devin Booker leads the team with 16 points, but has been less aggressive since taking an early jumper and landing on Klay Thompson on the way down. Yes, that should have been a foul on Klay. No it wasn’t called.
  • All five bench players scored at least one basket, led by Jock Landale’s 7.
  • The Suns are 9/15 on threes at the half, while the Warriors are 9/20

Second Half

The Warriors opened the second half playing more physical — Draymond especially — and it didn’t really work in their favor. Yes, he collapsed on an Ayton drive to get an offensive foul, but he drew a tech that turned into two points for the Suns. Suns took a 79-70 lead.

But still this is Golden State, and they decided they were going to work hard this quarter. They pulled to 79-76 before the Suns scored again, and handled every defensive possession like a challenge. The Suns began to lose their cool, drawing techs on consecutive possessions for complaining about the calls favoring Warriors physicality. Ayton was quickly up to 4 fouls and there was still 7:07 in the quarter.

Then it all got really weird. Booker and Klay Thompson got into a jawing match during the next dead ball, after Draymond Green had fouled Mikal Bridges on a breakaway drive. Thompson was ejected while Booker got a tech too and benches cleared during the timeout.

Suffice to say, these teams do not like each other.

Suns were up 83-77 at that point when Klay was ejected, and built the lead the 90-77 just over a minute later during which Jock Landale (in for Ayton/4 fouls) spike-blocked a Jordan Poole layup attempt.

That’s 90 points for the Suns in 2.5 quarters. Big difference? Suns are 21/24 on FTs, while the Warriors are only 6/9. Also, Suns are +7 on rebounds and -6 on personal fouls.

In come the benches. That’s where the Warriors got back into the game in the first half, but it didn’t happen again.

By the end of three, the Suns led the Warriors by 19 points, 105-86. Suns outscored the Warriors, 33-20, in that third quarter.

The first four minutes of the fourth will determine if we just see all-bench lineups the rest of the way. The Warriors started the quarter Kevon Looney and four bench players. The Suns started with Cam Johnson, Chris Paul and three bench players (Shamet, Lee and Landale).

Yeah, the Warriors really didn’t force the comeback. Jordan Poole seemed checked out, and when he tried to wow with his dribbling on Chris Paul, he failed at it. The Suns, meanwhile, brought back four starters (minus Book) by the eight minute mark.

But the Suns got sloppy, and kept missing open threes (team is now 0-10 in the second half on threes!) and when the Warriors smelled a little blood they struck. Curry and Green returned to quickly create an impossible pass for a three.

Suns lead down to 12. Suns timeout with 7:32 left. Ayton committed his fifth foul right then, and left with 16/14 and 4 assists. Landale back in.

Again, the Suns responded, getting the lead back to 16 and the Warriors called another timeout with 5:51 left.

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