The Golden State Warriors have fallen 108-104 to the Phoenix Suns in a disappointing start to their season at Chase Center on Tuesday night.
Plagued by errant shooting throughout the entire contest, the Warriors were limited to just 18 points in the final period as the Suns overcame an eight-point deficit early in the fourth to claim victory.
The Golden State Warriors shot just 35.6% from the field and 23.3% from three-point range in a four-point loss to the Phoenix Suns in their season opener.
Devin Booker had it rolling early with 15 points on 5-7 shooting in the first seven minutes, punishing the Warriors small starting lineup that sent the Suns to the line 15 times in the first-half.
But after a 24-12 start for the visitors, the Golden State bench drove their team back into the game with some highly-disruptive defense. Phoenix scored just six points over a nearly 10 minute period either side of the first-quarter break, but the Warriors weren’t quite able to take advantage with a raft of missed layups.
Moses Moody was the obvious standout in an otherwise gloomy first half. The third-year wing had 11 points on 4-5 shooting including 2-3 from three-point range, also proving active defensively with three steals and a block in just under 12 minutes.
Yet after Booker returned with just over seven minutes left in the second period, the Suns outscored the Warriors 31-11 over the remainder of the quarter. Golden State’s lack of size saw a multitude of second-chance points and-1’s for the Suns, with a disastrous 9-0 run closing a half where the Warriors posted just 46 points on 31% shooting.
Golden State came out a different unit in the second-half, defending without fouling and playing at a far greater intensity. They quickly erased the deficit in a breathtaking 27-5 run characterized by their own ability to get to the free-throw line.
The Warriors had gone 4-6 from the charity stripe in the first-half, but led by the ever-cagey Chris Paul, they went 14-16 in a period where they ultimately outscored the Suns 40-19.
Unfortunately for Golden State, that third-quarter run would prove inconsequential as their advantage quickly evaporated thanks to an 11-0 Suns run. The team’s went back-and-forth down the stretch, but it was Phoenix that made the plays offensively despite Kevin Durant’s return to Chase Center yielding just 18 points on 7-22 shooting.
Steve Kerr went with a closing lineup of Paul, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Jonathan Kuminga and Kevon Looney down the stretch, with Kuminga’s insertion over Andrew Wiggins sure to be a talking point in the aftermath.
Curry led the Warriors with 27 points on 8-20 shooting, but no other Warrior finished with more than 14 in a rough outing offensively. Paul briefly shone in the third to finish with 14 points, six rebounds and nine assists in his debut, yet he ultimately shot just 4-15 and 0-6 from three-point range.
Kuminga had 12 points, six rebounds, two steals and a block after early foul trouble, but will come to rue two missed free-throws that could have given Golden State the lead with 90 seconds left.
Phoenix finished with a game-decisive 17 offensive rebounds, aided by a plethora of hustle plays and 17 points from Josh Okogie. Booker made the right plays down the stretch, proving the best player on the floor with 32 points, six rebounds and eight assists.
The Warriors had their own chances though, and will ultimately feel an opportunity was missed against a Suns team missing offseason acquisition Bradley Beal. They’ll now have two days off before a matchup with the Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center on Friday.