sfgate.com photo: Golden State Warriors Stephen Curry playing the capacity of unofficial assistant coach gives the younger players tips and advice in the Warriors victory over the Phoenix Suns on Friday night at Chase Center in San Francisco
By Jerry Feitelberg
San Francisco- The Golden State Warriors won their fourth in a row coming back from a 12-point deficit at the end of three quarters beat the Phoenix Suns 105-96.
The Suns and the W’s were nip and tuck in the first period. The Warriors only lead came when rookie Alen Smailagic, making his NBA debut, made his second basket of the night to give the W’s a short-lived lead 23-22. The Suns outscored the W’s 7-2 to finish the quarter with a 29-25 advantage.
Devin Booker continued to lead the Suns in scoring. The Suns outscored the W’s 22-18 in the second quarter. The Warrior offense just could not get going. The W’s went cold for over three minutes late in the quarter. The Warriors defense forced 13 Phoenix turnovers, but the W’s could not take advantage. The Suns finished the first half leading 51-43.
The Suns shot 52.5% from the floor. The Warriors shot a miserable 35.4%. Booker led the Suns with 17. Dario Saric, Aron Baynes, and Ricky Rubio all had nine each. The only warrior in double figures was D’Angelo Russell, who had 11.
The Warriors continued to flounder in the third quarter. Alec Burks could not get anything going. Damion Lee and D’Angelo Russell were the only players putting points on the board. Alec Burks was cold all night long. He just couldn’t nake a bucket. The Suns finished the third period with a 12-point advantage 78-66.
In the long history of the NBA, many teams have come from behind to win. The fans in the stands did not have that feeling at the start of play for the last 12 minutes of the game. The Suns led 86-76 with 7 1/2 minutes left to play. The Warrior went on an 11-3 run to tie the game at 89. Alec Burks came to life with two baskets.
Russell made a three-pointer, and Will Cauley-Stein came through with a bucket and free throw to help tie the game. The momentum was clearly with the Warriors. The W’s added six more points to finish the now 19-3 run. The W’s led 95-89. Damion Lee, Alec Burks, Draymond Green, and Russell all scored to finish with the win 105-96.
Game Notes and Stats- The Warriors won their fourth in a row and are now 9-24 for the year. The Suns lost their eighth in a row, and they fell to 11-20.
The Warriors had four players in double figures. Russell led the team with 31 points. He connected on four threes in eleven tries. Damion Lee played well on both ends of the court. Lee knocked down 16 points to go along with 8 boards. Draymond added 11 points, seven rebounds, and four assists. Draymond made two three-point shots in the fourth quarter to help the W’s comeback effort. Burks finished with 13.
The W’s 19-year-old rookie from Serbia, Alen Smailagic, played five minutes in the first quarter and made scored four points.
Devin Booker led the Suns with 34. The Warriors put the clamps on him in the final period. He was not a factor at all. Saric had 11, Rubio 11, Frank Kaminsky 10, Aron Baynes 9.
The Warriors moved the ball well and committed just 10 turnovers. The Suns, however, turned the ball over 27 times, and that led to 28 Warrior points. After the game, Warrior Head Coach Steve Kerr said: “We were solid defensively.” He also said this about the team’s fourth-quarter rally: “We now believe we can win down the stretch.”
The Warriors play Saturday night again against the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavericks beat the W’s by 48 points in the first meeting of the teams earlier in the season. The game will be played at the Chase Center Saturday night. The game will start at 5:30 pm.