STEPH CURRY DAGGER. UNREAL pic.twitter.com/fpOpnYcfVJ— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 11, 2024
The atmosphere was thick and the tempers were thin between the Warriors and the Suns in Chase Center. As the crowd cheered and booed at every movement made on the court, the players gave their all to put on a show. With Steph Curry dropping nine threes, and great ball movement from both teams, it was a non-stop ride from the tip.
Fighting for every inch on the floor, Devin Booker led the Suns with 32 points, while scoring eight points out of the last 12 points of the game for the Suns. He took things into his own hands, noticing that the game was about to slip away. But it was too little too late.
The turnovers for the Suns were a problem early, ending the game with 14 turnovers, it is what cost the Suns the game. The ball movement was there with 33 assists and with 17 made threes, you would think the Suns would have won looking from the outside-in. But that was not the case. Giving the Warriors too many opportunities throughout the game is always a mistake when the game on the line and the ball is in Curry’s hands with the final shot.
After 14 assists in Thursday night's victory over the Utah Jazz, Grayson Allen came out firing, knocking down his first couple of three-pointers. His smooth shooting coupled with Devin Booker's intent to get to the line, kept the game competitive early. Booker hit is first five free-throws keeping the Warriors on their heels defensively.
It was a playoff atmosphere and also the first meeting between Jusuf Nurkic and Draymond Green after Draymond swung at Nurkic, followed by a suspension.
Things were chippy early with Draymond and Nurkic getting tangled up and yapping back-and-forth. After lapses on defense and a handful of turnovers, the Suns were down 33-28 to end the first quarter.
The second quarter lineup for the Suns included Bol Bol and newcomer, Royce O'Neale, was led by Bradley Beal taking forced shots with one leading to a charge. The ball started to move a little bit more with Royce taking a corner three and drilling it after Beal moved the ball to Drew Eubanks, leading to the extra pass to the corner.
The defense was still an issue, and with the Suns already turning the ball over 10 times, the Warriors held all the momentum. The game started to fall away from the Suns 47-40, but Josh Okogie grabbed it back by hitting a corner three and a crazy fade-away jumper off the glass.
This was an Okogie type of game. Scrappy and with players on the floor after every possession.
With Kevin Durant starting to get more shots up, the Warriors started to gravitate towards Durant, leaving Okogie open and hitting another three. Okogie saved the Suns in the second quarter with Booker and Beal unable to hit any shots, until Beal finally got a couple of shots to go ending the first half.
The Suns were down 59-58 at the half.
With a block and five quick points to start the second half, Booker came out of the locker room a different man. Leading by example on the defensive end and drawing a foul on the longer defender in Andrew Wiggins, he knew his only option to rack up points was from the free-throw line. His play went up another level, bringing the Suns' lead to five.
Nurkic wasn’t done playing around with Draymond and trying to get in his head. After Draymond grabbed his first technical foul for stomping on the floor like a baby, Nurkic gave him the “too small” after throwing a lay-in over his head.
It was a back-and-forth game in the third quarter with Steph Curry matching the Suns offensive effort with one three after another. The Suns offense looked great when the ball was moving but on the defensive end, they were giving up too many easy shots in the paint.
The end to the second quarter was very sloppy with the Suns missing an opportunity to capitalize with a Warriors drought in scoring. Beal and Booker both struggled to figure out the Warriors' defense, settling for difficult fade-away shots. Lester Quinones off the Warriors bench made his presence felt on the defensive end. This is the last thing you wanted to see as a Suns fan. Another long guard makes things difficult for Booker and Beal.
After all of that, the Suns were only down 84-82 heading into the fourth quarter.
Starting the fourth quarter, Beal and Durant gave up a 9-3 run by the Warriors, and I only mention them because they are obviously the leaders of this unit, containing Eubank, Gordon, and Bol. Their defense was non-existent, allowing fast breaks and players to cut behind the defense with ease.
The Suns couldn't get out of their own way, still turning the ball over leading to either a Curry three or a put-back dunk. With slumped shoulders and tired faces, the Suns had to spend a timeout to stop the run from the Warriors.
Beal started to heat up a little, but Durant and Booker were M.I.A. from all over the floor, and with five minutes left in the game, the Suns cut the lead to four. Durant and Booker then work up, scoring a quick five points leading to a Warriors timeout.
Draymond had wide open lanes to the rim leading to easy layups. Booker realized that he had to finish this one out himself, scoring six straight points and eight out of the next ten points for the Suns, taking a 112-110 lead with 36 seconds left in the game. The Warriors had a chance to tie or take the lead with two seconds left in the game.
Curry hit the final three to end the Suns' chances, winning it for the Warriors 113-112.
The Suns head back to Phoenix welcoming the Sacramento Kings in another Western Conference matchup. Testing their ability to again keep up with an explosive Kings team that gave up a 24-3 run to end the game in a Suns victory, the Suns hope to look like a different team from tip-off to the final horn.