The perfect start had to end at some point for the Golden State Warriors, unable to make the most of another great game by Stephen Curry as they surrendered to the Phoenix Suns, losing 107-95.
Klay Thompson wasn’t playing due to a sprained right hand and the Warriors are still without David Lee. The Warriors started out hot and held a big lead in the first half, but looked exhausted in the fourth quarter, with the Suns’ bench and frantic play by their guards, mostly Isaiah Thomas and Gerald Green, seemed to be way too much for the exhausted dubs, getting outscored by 20 points (36-16) in the fourth quarter.
The Suns were led by Thomas, scoring 15 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter. Gerald Green and Goran Dragic each scored 19 points, followed by Marcus Morris, scoring 15. On par with tradition and trends this season, the Warriors needed one of their four guards to play badly. This time it was Eric Bledsoe, scoring just nine points on 2-6 from the field. Jeff Hornacek realized in time that in order to win this game, the speed of Thomas was more necessary.
Stephen Curry shot 10-of-20 from the field to finish with another double double, scoring 28 points to go with 10 assists. He’s leading the NBA in scoring with 27.7 per game so far and also in steals, adding five to make it 3.5 per game this season. But he also found it difficult to hang on to the ball or avoid bad passes, something that has always been a part of his game and is more evident the more ball dominant he becomes. He turned the ball over 10 times, the third time in his career with at least 10. Since entering the NBA in 2009, no one has had more games with 10 or more turnovers. Kobe Bryant did it twice.
The Warriors ended up turning the ball over 26 times, not being able to calm down and slow things a bit. The Suns don’t have the ability or personnel to grind things out, but the Warriors played right into their hands. Steve Kerr has been getting plenty of compliments this season for his team’s hot start, but not being able to change and shift gears into something that suits them and gives them back the advantage has to be attributed to him as well.
The Warriors had a rough time with getting Bogut involved. He scored just four points on 2-of-6 from the field. he also turned the ball over four times, and Draymond Green lost if five times. The pressure on the ball during the second half was incredible. The moment the Suns stopped leaving players wide open for shots, the Warriors lost control of the game. Even for the most offensive teams, it always begins and ends on the defensive end.
The Warriors are now one of four teams that have lost just one game: Raptors, Grizzlies and Rockets. It puts them at third among the Western conference teams, although it doesn’t really mean anything at this point, and won’t for a very long time. The Suns are once again one game above .500, which down the line, won’t do them a lot of good. It’s good enough for ninth in the West, and won’t be enough to put them in the playoffs five months from now.