Suns eclipsed, but bucks loom

Stephen Curry (centre) of the Golden State Warriors in action against Jon Leuer (left) and Eric Bledsoe (right) of the Phoenix Suns at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California, on Dec 16.
Stephen Curry (centre) of the Golden State Warriors in action against Jon Leuer (left) and Eric Bledsoe (right) of the Phoenix Suns at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California, on Dec 16.PHOTO: AFP

Golden State heed Curry's exhortation not to lose again, in buildup to Milwaukee rematch

OAKLAND (California) • Bring on the Bucks. The Golden State Warriors tuned up on Wednesday for the only team that has beaten them this National Basketball Association (NBA) season by blowing away the Phoenix Suns 128-103.

Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green combined to make eight consecutive shots, including five three-pointers, during a three-minute flurry late in the second quarter, propelling the Warriors to their 25th win this term.

It was just their first victory since losing 95-108 to the Milwaukee Bucks last Saturday, which ended their season-opening, 24-game winning streak.

"We're looking forward to it," Thompson said of the quick rematch with the Bucks today. "They were doing a lot of talking at the end of that game. I can't wait to see them again."

The shooting guard finished with a season-best 43 points as the Warriors ran their home record to 11-0 this season with a 29th consecutive win at Oracle Arena dating back to last year.


Draymond Green (No. 23) of the Golden State Warriors tries to dribble between T.J. Warren (right) and Eric Bledsoe during their 128-103 win over the Phoenix Suns at Oracle Arena on Wednesday. -PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

The win was Golden State's eighth straight victory at home over the Suns, who were playing for the third time in just four nights. The Warriors, meanwhile, enjoyed the previous three days off.

Perhaps showing the rust of the relatively long lay-off following a marathon seven-game trip, the Warriors trailed 38-42 in the eighth minute of the second quarter before exploding past the Suns over the course of the next 17 minutes.

"That was the height of our game," Warriors coach Luke Walton said of a stretch that included a 46-point third quarter.

The runaway began with eight straight hoops in the second quarter that produced a 21-4 burst and turned the four-point deficit into a 59-46 lead with 1:41 left in the half.

Curry and Thompson each hit a pair of threes, and Green dropped in a fifth during the run. Curry also had a pair of two-point baskets.

"We needed to come back and get a win," Green insisted. "Steph said before the game, 'Hey, let's not lose two in a row. Let's come protect our court.' It was important to get back in the swing of things."

The lead reached 40 points before the end of the third quarter, with Thompson pouring in 27 of his 43 in the period on nine-for-11 shooting. Thompson and Curry alone outscored the Suns 68-65 through three periods.

"We can't put too much on Steph," Thompson said of his backcourt mate, who had led the Warriors in scoring on all but three previous occasions this season. "We all have to do our part."

Thompson, whose previous season best was 39 at Indiana eight days earlier, hit 15 of 22 shots, including eight of 13 three-point attempts.

"It was fun to watch," Walton said of Thompson's big night. "When he or Steph get going, they are such great shooters, it's really amazing. I don't know how you stop it."

Curry had 25 points and seven assists in just 30 minutes.

Green managed his fourth triple-double of the season in 31 minutes, putting up 16 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists to go with five steals and a blocked shot.

Backup forwards Mirza Teletovic and T.J. Warren had 24 and 19 points respectively for the visitors and point guard Brandon Knight added 17.

Phoenix shot 45.1 per cent overall but just 22.7 per cent on three-pointers, missing 17 of 22.

"You have to be able to do a lot of things right to beat them," Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said, noting his team's 21 turnovers. "We started the second half and I think we had five turnovers in those first three minutes. You can't turn the ball over against these guys."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 18, 2015, with the headline 'SUNS ECLIPSED, BUT BUCKS LOOM'. Print Edition | Subscribe