On Thursday night, the Warriors were able to beat the Bulls without David Lee and Andrew Bogut.
They weren’t so lucky tonight against the Suns, falling 122-109 in Phoenix on Saturday night. The Warriors were punished down low and on the glass without their starting frontcourt as the Suns out-rebounded the Warriors 45-34, got to the foul line 30 times, and took advantage of the Warriors’ smaller lineup.
Goran Dragic led the way with a spectacular performance: 34 points on 10-of-13 shooting, including 6-of-7 on threes, and 10 assists, to boot. It is not very often that Stephen Curry is outplayed by his matchup at point guard — Curry had a decent 28 points and nine assists — but Dragic clearly was the player of the game tonight.
The scoring was nice and balanced for Phoenix, as all five of its starters scored in double figures, and Marcus Morris chipped in 14 off the bench. The Suns shot a ridiculous 53.8 percent from the field for the game, and made over half of their three-point attempts (11-of-21). If the Warriors learned one thing out of tonight’s game, it’s that they absolutely need Bogut on the court in order for their defense to be effective.
Despite being shorthanded, the Warriors managed to hang around for a majority of the game. After a well-played first half by both teams, the Suns led 63-59. But the Suns distanced themselves in the third, starting the second half on a 13-5 run to take a double-digit lead. The Warriors fought back and entered the fourth down by just five, but they could not find a way to stop the Suns’ offense or get rebounds off missed shots. Golden State had the lead down to 102-100 with 7:54 to play, but Phoenix went on an 11-2 run, fueld by Dragic’s two 3-pointers.
Perhaps fittingly, with the game well out of hand in the final minute, Dragic just launched a 24-foot contested three for the heck of it, and it got nothing but net.
It was just that kind of night for the Warriors.
Tale of the Tape
- Field-goal percentage: 48.8% (41-84)
- Three-point percentage: 32% (8-25)
- Rebounds: 34
- Assists: 16
- Turnovers: 12
- Bench points: 36
- Field-goal percentage: 53.8% (43-80)
- Three-point percentage: 52.4% (11-21)
- Rebounds: 45
- Assists: 16
- Turnovers: 17
- Bench points: 22
Barnes Wakes Up
The last time Harrison Barnes scored more than 20 points in a game, Christmas presents were yet to be unwrapped.
Which was why it surely must have been a relief for the Warriors’ coaching staff to see Barnes go off for 23 points on 9-of-15 shooting. He was aggressive on offense and wasn’t afraid of driving to the rim and taking shots.
If he can keep trending up — he scored 11 in the fourth quarter against the Bulls on Thursday — the Warriors’ bench will look so much better.
Do the Warriors win this game with Lee and Bogut playing?
Maybe, maybe not. It’s pointless to play hypothetical games.
But as it stands, the Warriors drop to a half game back of the Suns and fall to a tie with the Mavericks for the seventh spot in the West.
What’s on Tap
The Warriors will return home to take on the 76ers on Monday.