by Jerry Feitelberg
Oakland- The Warriors, after beating the Denver Nuggets Friday night, hoped that the game against the young Phoenix Suns would be an easy win. The Suns had other thoughts. Phoenix, under head coach Igor Korkoskov, entered the contest with an abysmal record of 15-52. However, they had won five of the last seven played, and the Warriors knew that they should not be taken lightly. The Warriors had beaten the Suns 18 straight times and had not lost to them since November 9th, 2014. The Suns made a trade earlier in the season when they traded Trevor Ariza to the Washington Wizards for Kelly Oubre, Jr, and Austin Rivers. Rivers was traded to Houston. Oubre has helped the Suns, and with Devin Booker’s 37 points, they upset the Warriors’ applecart Sunday night at Oracle by a score of 115-111
The Warriors, who have had problems getting started in the first quarter over the last 10 or 12 games, got off to a good start as they finished the quarter with a 29-16 lead. Klay Thompson led the attack with 10 points. They had the offense working and were playing strong defense.
The second quarter was a reversal of fortune for Golden State. With the W’s second unit on the floor, the Suns outplayed the Warriors on both ends of the court. The Suns outscored the W’s 40-28 in the quarter and finished the first half trailing by a single point 57-56. The Warriors were led by Thompson 19 points. Durant 14, Cousins 7, and Steph had 3. The Suns Deandre Ayton paced the team with 12, Oubre 10, and Devin Booker 11. The Suns’ bench outscored the Warrior bench 20-10.
The Warriors got off to a slow start in the third period. They continued to fail to make three-point shots. They scored just 11 points in the first eight-plus minutes in the quarter. The W’s offense came to life as they finished with a 15-6 run to maintain the one-point lead 80-19. In the final period of the night, the W’s extended the lead to 88-83. It was at this point that the momentum shifted to Phoenix. The referees called Shaun Livingston for an offensive foul on Booker. The refs reviewed the play and determined that Shaun committed a flagrant foul. Booker made the two free throws and retained possession. The Suns capitalized and increased the lead to 91-88. It was all part of an 8-0 run for the Suns. Steph Curry hit a three to tie the game at 91. They lead changed hands several times until Phoenix led 99-98. The Suns’ Devin Booker was on fire, and he propelled the Suns to a 109-98 lead. The Warriors closed the gap to three 111-108, but the Suns held on to win 115-111.
Game Notes and Stats- The Warriors’ Kevin Durant suffered a right ankle contusion with 6:34 left in the game. Durant went to the locker room and did not return. The Warriors are now 45-21 for the season, and Phoenix improved to 16-52. The Suna have won six of the last eight games played and have beaten the Milwaukee Bucks twice and now the Warriors. They are a team that is on the rise with young, talented players and can no longer be taken lightly. The Warriors and Suns do not play again this year.
Klay Thompson led the team with 28, KD had 25, Steph 18. Klay and Steph each made four threes in fifteen attempts. DeMarcus Cousins added 13. Draymond Green had 6 points, 11 rebounds, and 8 assists. The Warriors bench helped out with 21.
Devin Booker was the start of the night for Phoenix. The third-year player knocked down 37 points and made 13 straight points for Phoenix in the fourth quarter. Kelly Oubre helped out with 22, and the big 7 foot 1-inch center, rookie Deandre Ayton, had 18 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 assists.
The Warriors embark on a four-game road trip starting Wednesday against the Houston Rockets. The Rockets have won eight in a row and are looking to sweep the season series against the Warriors. Game time will be at 5:30 pm.