Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson, left, makes a 3-point basket against Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) during the first half at the Chase Center in San Francisco on Mon Mar 13, 2023 (AP News photo)
By Jerry Feitelberg
The Golden State Warriors (36-33), coming off an exciting win over the Milwaukee Bucks (37-31) last Saturday, did not have a let down as they defeated the Phoenix Suns 123-112 Monday night at the Chase Center. The Suns had beaten the Warriors three times earlier in the season.
The Warriors wanted to win this game. Both teams were missing key players due to injury. The Suns’ Kevin Durant was out with an ankle injury. The Warriors did not have Jonathan Kuminga available, either.
There’s a saying in the NBA that a team cannot win a game with a great first period. Teams can lose a game by not playing well. Behind Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry, the Warriors raced out to an early 43-21 lead. Thompson led the Warriors with 18, and Curry added 12.
JaMychal Green, coming off the bench, pitched in with seven. The Suns got their offense going in the second quarter. Devon Booker and DeAndre Ayton started making buckets, and the Suns were able to win the quarter 37-32 to cut the deficit to 17, 75-58.
As NBA fans know, many teams can overcome a 17-point deficit in the second half. The Suns needed to continue to play well on defense and get the Warriors to commit fouls. The formula worked. The momentum shifted to Phoenix for most of the third quarter. Thompson, who had 33 points in the first half, did not score in the quarter.
The Warriors made bad passes and turned the ball over several times. The Suns did not take three-point shots. They drove the ball to the basket. The Warriors committed four fouls early in the quarter, allowing the Suns to get to the free throw line. The Suns closed the gap to three, 87-84.
Curry’s bucket put the Warriors ahead 90-84. Jordan Poole knocked down a three to make 93-84. The Warriors finished the third period leading by ten, 98-88.
Poole came to life in the fourth quarter. Poole hit a three to put the Warriors ahead by 14, 110-96. The Warriors offense kept the pressure on the Suns. Poole made a three and a two-pointer to give the Warriors a 16-point advantage, 118-12. Curry made a three to put the Warriors in the driver’s seat, 123-106. The Suns scored the last six points of the game in garbage time.
Game Notes: The Warriors won their eighth straight at the Chase Center. They are 29-7 at home. The Warriors improved to 36-33. The Suns fell to 37-31.
Thompson paced the Warriors with 38 points. Thompson had 33 in the first half and five in the second. Thompson recorded eight threes. Curry’s line was 23 points, seven rebounds, and five assists, and he made four threes. Poole had 20 points, and he made four threes.
Draymond Green had four points, six rebounds, and four assists. Early in the fourth quarter, Draymond made an easy bucket when the Phoenix defense thought he would pass the ball. Draymond turned, and there was no one in his way and made the slam to give the team a 12-point lead.
Booker led the Suns with 32 points. Booler did not make a three. The other big gun in the Suns’ offense, DeAndre Ayton, had a double-double with 27 points and 12 rebounds. Chris Paul had a double-double with 11 points and 11 assists. Josh Okogie also had eleven.
The Warriors, who are 7-26 away from the Chase Center, begin a five-game road trip starting Wednesday night against the Los Angeles Clippers. They play the Atlanta Hawks on Friday, The Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday. It will be the last back-to-back games of the year for the Warriors. They meet the Houston Rockets on Monday, the 20th, and the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday, the 22. The Warriors return home to host the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday, the 24th.