Warriors get their Groove Back while Obliterating the Phoenix Suns, win 129-83
After beating the shorthanded Spurs on Saturday, the Golden State Warriors (43-13) would be playing their fourth and final game of their four-game homestand, against the Phoenix Suns (18-39). The Warriors would be without Draymond Green, who was sitting out with a injured finger, and Omri Casspi was starting in his place. The Suns would be without their star player, Devin Booker. Coming into this game, the Suns were tied with the Mavericks for the second-worst record in the west, and would be looking to snap a five-game losing streak. The Warriors would be looking to keep rolling and pick up their third straight win to head into the all star break on a winning streak. The Warriors would also be letting his players do the coaching, as Steve Kerr thought it would be a good idea in order to keep them more involved when they are on the bench. The Warriors went on to win the game 129-83.
In the first quarter, both teams got off to pretty slow starts. The Warriors found themselves down early, but were able to storm back and take a lead on the back of a 10-0 run in the end of the quarter. The Warriors were playing excellent defense, but were unable to stop Elfrid Payton, as he went 7/7 from the field with 16 points. They held the Suns to 40% shooting, but they weren’t much better on offense, shooting just 47.8%. Kevin Durant was leading the Warriors in scoring with seven points, three of which came on a corner three after some incredible ball movement. JaVale McGee and Stephen Curry both had five points each. Steph struggled shooting the ball, but did make a three. JaVale was playing hard on both ends, and two of his points came on a powerful dunk towards the end of the quarter. The Warriors did a good job of not turning the ball over, as they only did it twice. After the first quarter, the Warriors led for what felt like the first time in an eternity, 25-24.
The Warriors took over in the second quarter. Their shooting got exponentially better, and they finished the half shooting 55.6% from the field, which included shooting 40% from three. Stephen Curry retook the lead for leading scorer with 15 points, as he nailed several tough layups and another three. Three other players were tied for second with nine points, and two were usual suspects, and one was really nice to see. Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant had nine points, and so did Patrick McCaw. McCaw played really well, and connected on several nice driving layups, and he made his first three since December 27. The Warriors continued to do an excellent job at not turning the ball over, and they only had 4 turnovers at halftime, their lowest total in a long time. They were also playing excellent defense, blocking nine shots, and five steals. Their defense was so great that they were holding the Suns to just 40.4% shooting, and the only reason that the game was remotely close was Elfrid Payton, who had 20 of the Suns’ 45 points. Payton only missed one shot in the half, and was 9/10 with 20 points, and was doing a nice job playing defense on Stephen Curry. The next highest scorer for the Suns was Tyson Chandler, who had six points, and I am pretty sure that all six came on alley-oops. Even though the Warriors got off to a relatively slow start in the first quarter, they were able to explode in the second quarter to start to pull away. At the half, the Warriors led 62-45.
The Warriors’ offensive explosion continued into the third quarter. Their shooting percentage got even better, and by the time the final buzzer sounded in the third, they were shooting 58.2% from the field. Stephen Curry was still the leading scorer, with 22 points, but he was also doing a fantastic job at making sure his teammates were involved. He also had nine rebounds and seven assists to go along with his 22 points. Kevin Durant was the next highest scorer with 17 points, and Klay was right behind him with 16. KD had his 17 points on an absurdly efficient 8/9 shooting, and Klay got most of his 16 points on incredibly difficult shots. The whole Warriors team was getting involved and everyone except Shaun Livingston scorer. Omri Casspi even attempted a three, which is an incredibly rare occurrence. Their defense was still great, and they held the Suns to 38.7% shooting, and the Warriors blocked 13 of their shots. JaVale had three blocks to lead the Warriors’ stellar defensive effort. After the third, the Warriors led the Suns 99-71.
For the third straight game, the fourth quarter was garbage time for nearly its entirety. The fourth quarter saw the Warriors extend their lead a little more with their bench, and it looked like some of their guys who were struggling were much more confident. Omri Casspi was great throughout the whole game, but especially down the stretch in the fourth. He finished with 19 points on 7/10 shooting, he also grabbed 10 rebounds, and made his first three since early January. He was great. Nick Young also exploded in the fourth, and finished with 16 points and was the team leader in +/- with +34. The Warriors won the game 129-83.
The outcome of this game was incredible. They blew out the Suns by 46 points, and it felt like their first true blowout in a long time. So many players were great and it was truly outstanding to see some of their key guys off the bench get back on track. Patrick McCaw looked phenomenal in the first half, scoring nine points, as well as looking more confident than ever. Andre Iguodala looked rejuvenated, and was sprinting up and down the court all night. He took six shots, which is good because he has shied away from taking jump shots as of late. Most importantly though, Omri Casspi was outstanding. He did it all for the Warriors tonight, and finally took a couple more threes, and even made one. Now, this game was against the Phoenix Suns, so they should have won by a lot, so the thing that was most impressive about this game was their ability to get everyone involved and back on track.
Now, we need to talk about the coaching tonight. Steve Kerr decided to let the players run things today, and it was quite the spectacle. We got to see Andre Iguodala, David West, and Draymond Green run the huddles and timeouts, and I am not sure if that is the reason that they all looked so re energized, but I am going to go out on a limb and say that it helped. Having the players coach for a day is definitely one of the most of the most arrogant things a coach can do, and I am absolutely here for it. It was incredible to watch how the players responded and seeing Draymond Green coach was just classic.
Stephen Curry was the leading scorer for the Warriors tonight with 22 points, and he also grabbed nine rebounds, and dished out seven assists. The next highest scoring Warrior was Omri Casspi, who had 19 points. Kevin Durant had 17 points, while Klay Thompson and Nick Young were right behind him with 16 each. As a team, they compiled 36 assists, and only turned the ball over 11 times, which is a recipe for success if there ever was one. Their defense was also just incredible all night, as they held the Suns to just 34.7% shooting from the field, as well as blocking a season-high 17 shots. The Warriors played an all around great game tonight and it was fun to watch.
Now, the following take is going to be an overreaction, but I think that I am allowed to do this after seeing the internet explode because the Cleveland Cavaliers won their first game with their new players. I think that this is the beginning of the Warriors assault on the rest of the league en route to their second-straight title. A game like tonight is important for so many reasons, and it doesn’t matter that it was against a Phoenix Suns team that was without their best player. It looked like everyone was energized, engaged, and several key players found their stroke again. If the Warriors can keep playing like this for the rest of the season and carry it into the playoffs, then the rest of the league should tremble in their boots even more so than they were before.
The Warriors play their next game on Wednesday, February 14, in Oregon against the Portland Trail Blazers at 7:30 p.m.