The Phoenix Suns picked up a hard-win over the Golden State Warriors on the road Wednesday night, tying the franchise’s all-time winning mark at 62 victories. The Suns played tough down the stretch against a Warriors team that was clearly badly wanting it and buoyed by a fantastic scoring performance by Jordan Poole. The Suns got the win despite hitting only 7/25 threes and shooting only 41% overall.
The first quarter was a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. The Suns, wearing white on the road, jumped out to an early advantage thanks to a combination of good defense and sloppy play by the Warriors. When the Suns led 12-2 it was starting to feel like they were just going to assert their dominance early and not look back.
But things changed in a hurry when the Warriors suddenly got hot, especially Poole who poured on 15 points in about a 7 minute span.
The second quarter was less a game of runs, and the Suns really shot poorly overall. Mikal Bridges was a very notable exception, finishing up the half with 17 points on 7/9 shooting.
But the team was just 19/53 from the field (36%), and an ugly 4/21 from downtown. Deandre Ayton was just 3/11 in the first half, and Devin Booker (who has been scorching hot the past couple of weeks) was struggling along at 2/10 shooting though he did cobble together 11 points by drawing fouls. Golden State had 14 first half turnovers. 50-48 Suns lead at the break.
The two teams played a dead even third quarter to set up what was really quite an entertaining final frame that came down to the final possession. The charged playoff atmosphere was palpable in the closing minutes as both teams played with a lot of energy. The Suns showcased some great basketball getting the bench involved, like this nice sequence from Chirs Paul, Jae Crowder, and Torrey Craig.
✔️ Behind-the-back from CP3— * - Phoenix Suns (@Suns) March 31, 2022
✔️ Around the defender from Jae
✔️ Cutting bucket from Torrey pic.twitter.com/KUuKYxRgEV
As in the first half, Booker couldn’t seem to find his stroke from the floor but continued to attack and get to the line. Unlike in the first half, Bridges was not a major factor on offense as he attempted only 5 second half field goals.
Things got a little dicey with about a minute to play as Draymond Green appeared to shove Crowder, who subsequently nailed two big free throws to put the Suns up 100-97 with a minute to play. From there it was the kind of game some fans love and others hate, as it all came down to high pressure execution at the charity stripe.
Four free throws by Poole, both stemming from Booker fouls, made it 101-100 with just under 40 seconds left. After a pair of Booker free throws made it 102-101 Suns, Chris Paul hit a tough floater in the teeth of the Warriors’ interior defense to give the Suns a 4-point lead. That was basically the dagger. The Suns improved to 62-14, the Warriors fell to 48-29.
Bridges and Booker both led the Suns with 22 points. Ayton grabbed 16 rebounds, and CP3 dished 8 assists. There was not much indication of the Suns dialing the workload back to rest for the playoffs, as every starter played well over 30 minutes and Bridges logged 41.
Poole had a huge game for the Warriors. He tied his career high with 38 points, and hit 7 three pointers. Andrew Wiggins had 19 points for Golden State in the losing effort.
The Suns will travel to face the tough second place Memphis Grizzlies on Friday night.