The Golden State Warriors could not outlast the Phoenix Suns in their opener at Chase Center on Tuesday night, suffering a 108-104 defeat in a thriller to tip-off the new season.
After a disappointing first-half where they fell behind by 15, the Warriors outscored the Suns 40-19 in the third period to take control. Unfortunately, their eight-point fourth-quarter lead could not be maintained with the Suns executing better down the stretch.
The good, the bad and the ugly from the Golden State Warriors four-point loss to the Phoenix Suns on opening night.
Let’s dive into some early observations from Golden State’s first game of the season:
All eyes were fixed on Chris Paul as the veteran point-guard donned Warrior blue and gold for the first official time against his former team. CP3’s patented midrange jumper wasn’t there for most of the evening and he clanked a few wide-open threes, but his debut was nonetheless encouraging on the whole, and it’s clear the 38-year-old has a lot left in the tank.
Throughout the preseason, head coach Steve Kerr had been imploring Paul to worry less about fitting in and instead focus on doing what he does best. Paul sure looked like himself tonight as he navigated a familiar Suns’ defense.
As to be expected on opening night, the Warriors were full of first-day jitters, likely a contributing factor to their cold shooting start. Paul shot 4-15 from the field and a measly 0-6 from three, but he made his money at the charity stripe, knocking down six of seven free-throw attempts on his way to 14 points. CP3’s all-time playmaking was also on full display, as the ‘point god’ finished with nine assists to just one turnover on the night.
Paul endured a bit of a shaky start but became much more comfortable as the game wore on. He settled into the flow of the offense, and his pick-and-roll prowess kept the Warriors afloat with Stephen Curry in foul trouble.
Entering his fifteenth season in the league, it’s a wonder that Stephen Curry has been able to extend his prime by perfecting the art of shooting and maintaining a level of conditioning second to none.
A bigger Phoenix squad was able to crowd Steph’s airspace more than usual, reflected in his subpar shooting numbers (8-20 from the field and 4-14 from behind the arc), but the two-time MVP showed zero signs of slowing down and was a handful for defenders all night long. Curry repeatedly attacked favorable switches and embraced contact at the rim, taking seven trips to the free-throw line.
The two-time MVP committed a few ill-advised fouls early on, and he picked up his fifth foul early in the fourth quarter which limited him to just over 30 minutes of action. Curry did connect on a huge three to cut the Warrior deficit to two with under a minute to play, but the shot was virtually erased as Jusuf Nurkic answered with an immediate layup at the other end, sealing the Suns’ victory.