Forward Andrew Wiggins hits a layback jumper to protect the lead late in the fourth quarter as the Golden State Warriors take on the Phoenix Suns at Chase Center on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Forward Andrew Wiggins hits a layback jumper to protect the lead late in the fourth quarter as the Golden State Warriors take on the Phoenix Suns at Chase Center on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Wiggins erupts for 38 points as Warriors rally past Suns 122-116

A night after beating the NBA-leading Utah Jazz, the Golden State Warriors followed up with a win over the league’s second-best team, rallying past the Phoenix Suns 122-116 for their fourth straight victory.

Andrew Wiggins exploded for 38 points on 17-of-23 shooting, surpassing the 30-point mark for just the second time this season.

“I came out trying to be aggressive,” Wiggins said. “I feel like that’s what everyone wants me to do. That’s what I’m trying to do on both sides of the floor.”

Stephen Curry struggled from 3-point range, making just 1 of 11 attempts, but still managed to post 21 points and six assists. Jordan Poole added 20 points off the bench and Kent Bazemore chipped in 17 points. Draymond Green notched his sixth triple-double of the season with 11 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds.

“Tonight felt like a playoff game,” said Warriors coach Steve Kerr. “For us to be able to withstand a great team playing with a lead, bottling up Steph pretty well, and for us to be able to stay with it and come back and finish out the win is just fantastic.”

Added Green: “(Wiggins) was incredible. He carried us tonight. For us to get that win and Steph to struggle, it says a lot about the growth of this team.”

Devin Booker led the Suns with 34 points, including 22 in the the third quarter. Chris Paul added 24 points and 10 assists and Jae Crowder scored 20 points.

Early on, it looked like Phoenix was going to coast to an easy win. The Suns used a 21-4 run to surge to a 36-23 lead late in the first quarter. But Golden State clawed back to within eight at halftime, despite only four points on 2-of-8 shooting from Curry.

Curry began to heat up in the third quarter, scoring 13 points and cutting the Suns’ lead to three on multiple occasions. Booker was even more impressive, erupting for 22 points in the quarter and pushing the Phoenix lead to 98-92 after three.

But the Warriors dominated the fourth quarter, outscoring the Suns 30-18. Golden State hit three consecutive clutch 3-pointers in the final three minutes, including one by Jordan Poole to give them a 116-113 lead with 1:43 remaining, their first lead since the first quarter.

After a Wiggins basket extended the lead to five, Crowder buried a 3-pointer to bring Phoenix back within two with 1:10 to go. But Curry had the answer, making a 10-foot floater to push the lead back to two possessions and putting the game away.

“It’s definitely a character win,” Green said. “It says a lot about the growth of this team. This team, a couple of months ago, we probably would’ve lost the game by 40.”

The win moved the Warriors to 37-33, half a game ahead of the Memphis Grizzlies for the eighth seed in the Western Conference with just two games remaining. The difference between the eight and nine seeds is drastic, with the latter having to win two straight games in the play-in tournament to reach the playoffs.

“It’s good to be playing well right now, but we’ve got to continue to build on it,” Green noted. “These last two games are very important.”

The Warriors will try to make it five consecutive wins on Friday night when they host the New Orleans Pelicans. Golden State wraps up the regular season on Sunday against the Grizzlies, with the eighth seed likely on the line.

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