PHOENIX — The Warriors-Phoenix mismatch wasn’t the blowout most expected, just another routine victory for the NBA champions.
Stephen Curry nearly had a triple-double before sitting out the fourth quarter, and the Warriors stormed into the All-Star break on an 11-game winning streak with a 112-104 victory over the free-falling Suns on Wednesday night.
“It wasn’t our best effort but I told them before the game keep the turnovers down, just be solid and we should be fine,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “For the most part, we did a good job of taking care of the ball. Thirteen turnovers is a pretty good number for us. We didn’t do much else that well but it was enough.”
Curry had 26 points, nine rebounds and nine assists for the defending NBA champions. At 48-4, the Warriors enter the break with the best record through 52 games in NBA history, one win better than the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls and 1966-67 Philadelphia 76ers. Those Bulls finished the season with a league-record 72 wins.
Kerr called his team’s record “shocking.”
“Nobody has ever done it, right?” he said. “Fifty-two games in to have only lost four games is remarkable. It speaks to the talent and chemistry of the players. We have a deep roster and they love playing together, they enjoy winning and they are good at it.”
Klay Thompson added 24 points for Golden State. He called those 52 games “kind of a blur.”
“It has gone by really fast,” he said. “Winning obviously helps that but we couldn’t have asked for a better pre-All-Star break performance. We still have some room for improvement, believe it or not, but it is really surreal to be 48-4.”
Curry called the 48-4 record “pretty satisfying.”
“We handled a lot of different challenges pretty well this first half of the season,” he said.
Archie Goodwin scored 20 points and Markieff Morris 19 for the Suns, who have lost nine straight and 24 of 26. Rookie guard Devin Booker added 15 points and a career-best 10 assists.
Goodwin and Morris emerged the team’s leading scorers after scuffling on the bench during a first-quarter timeout.
“That’s part of being a big brother, being a leader,” Morris said. “Sometimes little brothers and big brothers get into it. That’s what happened — wrong place, wrong time.”
Golden State was up by as many as 22 points in the second and third quarters, but the Suns cut it to 11 late in the third and 10 a couple of times in the fourth. The only time Phoenix got within single digits in the second half was on Goodwin’s breakaway dunk just before the final buzzer.
Phoenix stayed with the Warriors shot for shot for a little while and was down only 29-28 after one quarter.
But the Warriors took off with a 16-0 second-quarter run. Curry sank a 28-foot 3-pointer, followed immediately by a 29-footer, and Green made a pair of free throws to put Golden State up 53-35 with 2:15 left in the half. The Warriors led 57-43 at the break.
Morris and Goodwin got into a heated exchange on the bench during an early timeout. Television replays showed it started with Morris vehemently saying something to Goodwin. He appeared to slap Morris’ hand away, then a lot of shoving ensued. Goodwin came out of the game for the remainder of the first quarter.
“I wouldn’t say it was a fight,” Phoenix interim coach Earl Watson said. “I would say it’s a pushing match. I’ve never seen an NBA player really fight. They push and then run behind referees.”
Watson said Morris and Goodwin roomed together earlier this season.
“We’re family,” Goodwin said. “It happens. I love him like a brother, he loves me.”
Morris called Goodwin “my little brother.”
“I’ve been with him for three years and I know him really well,” Morris said. “I know his family. We’re really close. It happens sometimes.”
Curry sank a 3-pointer for the 123rd consecutive game, four shy of Kyle Korver’s NBA record.