[NOTE: Wi-Fi at arena is out, so we will add highlights after the game]
On the back end of a back-to-back, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr elected to rest Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala, opting to start Patrick McCaw at small forward for the injured Kevin Durant (left knee MCL sprain, left tibial bone bruise) and James McAdoo for Green.
Former Warrior Leandro Barbosa was also out with a right hamstring spasm, as were Eric Bledsoe, Tyson Chandler, and Brandon Knight, all due to rest.
Q1: Stephin’ Amazing
Stephen Curry started the game in rhythm, chasing down a loose ball to the right corner and burying a triple over a suprisingly unsuspecting or otherwise concerned Alex Len.
Curry then turned a missed three by Tyler Ulis into a fast break opportunity for McCaw, then later hit a triple at the left arc, using a screen from Zaza Pachulia.
Steph wasn’t done, hitting another trey, this time from right wing on a pick by Pachulia, pulling up from the top after initially dicing up the Suns’ defense for a missed baseline jumper that McCaw retrieved, and earning a trip to the line, but only hitting one of two free throws, after Klay Thompson stole the ball.
That gave Curry 16 points in the first six minutes of play, as Golden State stormed out to a 22-11 lead.
Out of the timeout, Thompson got into the action with a nice swat of Devin Booker’s drive, the ball going off Booker, then drilling a jumper.
Shortly thereafter, Steph’s onslaught continued as Dragan Bender found himself in no-man’s land against him, and a couple of crossovers later, Curry had himself a step-back jumper.
McAdoo then swatted an attack by Ulis and a couple sequences later, Steph hit another pull-up at the top over Ulis, giving him 21 points on the night as the Warriors’ lead reached 29-13.
After Ulis answered with a jumper, Curry missed a heat-check from the left arc, but after a timeout, Steph went backdoor cut on the overplay by Ulis and Shaun Livingston found him for a running banker down the right side.
Curry almost worked his magic even while crashing into the sideline seats, as he got a deflection in the backcourt, gave chase to the loose ball, but couldn’t catch up to it. He did manage to fling blindly the ball reverse overhead towards the hoop on his unsuccessful save attempt, and the ball was on-line and airballed only about a yard short.
Livingston added a lead pass in transition to Ian Clark for a righty scoop, and fast-forwarding to the final play of the quarter, Bender lost the ball to Steph, but Curry also lost the handle while on the perimeter against Booker.
Steph had to fall to the floor twice in order to retrieve the ball near the left hashmark and the only angle available was a bounce pass to Livingston on the left arc.
Livingston immediately threw a rocket pass down to McGee with timeout running out, but missed badly — so badly that the ball caromed off the board and into the basket for a three-pointer just before the buzzer!
The Warriors took a massive 41-18 lead into the second stanza. Steph amassed 23 points on 8-for-12 shooting, 5-for-8 from distance, and missed two free throws in the process.
Q2: Falling Asleep
Kerr had Clark, Klay, McCaw, Matt Barnes and David West to start the second quarter, which had no chance of living up to the theatrics of Curry’s first quarter.
West hit a jumper early, but got called for a technical later, and things went downhill as the young Suns fought back. With 5:07 to play, Kerr called timeout as Phoenix cut the lead to 47-36.
Kerr re-inserted Curry, but Zaza mad two straight bad pass attempts to McAdoo and a Booker pull-up drew the Suns to within 49-41.
But Steph came to the rescue, going tic-tac-toe with himself as he ran pick-and-roll, slipped a pass to Pachulia, who passed back out to McCaw on the left wing, who rotated back up top to Curry for three more over Derrick Jones, Jr..
Then Steph used a high pick by McAdoo to shed Jones, navigate the Suns’ defense down the right lane, and dropped home a banker.
But the Warriors were lackadaiscal on defense and a Jared Dudley missed three got tracked down by Alan Williams, who missed, but Jones flew in for a two-hand smash, forcing Kerr to call timeout as the Suns crept back to 54-45 with just 1:59 left.
McAdoo did well to crash the boards and rebound a missed drive by Curry, which then led to a baseline inbound by Livingston to a cutting Klay for a banker, but McAdoo smoked two layups in a row, and Ulis made him pay with a runner and a trey.
“Mac” made up for it with two free throws on penalty free throws as Ulis was too aggressive pressuring in the back-court, but Pachulia goal-tended (barely) a Booker runner and the Suns pulled to within 58-52 at halftime.
Curry led all scorers with 28 points on 10-for-15 field and 6-for-9 from deep.
(Photo: @letsgowarriors Instagram account via @agonzo928)