Sunday was the type of game the Golden State Warriors and their fans have come accustomed to over the years, a 117-100 win over the bottom-dwelling Phoenix Suns.
Klay Thompson scored 34 and the Warriors never trailed outside of the first two and a half minutes against a Suns team missing its top five scorers. Thompson had 22 in the first quarter alone, making up for a slow start from the rest of the team as the visitors held just a 33-29 lead through 12 minutes. Things got considerably more comfortable from there, as Golden State (58-23) led by as much as 18 during the second quarter and never let the host Suns get any closer than 10 in the second half.
Thompson scored just once in the second, but it was a pull-up jumper to stretch the lead to 61-43. After Phoenix (20-61) got within 10 midway through the third, the Warriors responded with an 18-7 run, capped off by a JaVale McGee bucket to make it 91-70 with just over a minute left in the third quarter. Dragan Bender’s 3-pointer early in the fourth cut the lead back to 10 as the Suns went on a 13-2 run of their own, but the drama was limited. Thompson would finish the game nearly as hot as he started it, scoring 10 as part of a 14-0 run across the next four minutes. From there, the Warriors were able to empty the bench and put an end to their brief two-game losing streak.
Thompson’s 34 points came on 14-of-23 shooting, and he was joined in double-figures by five teammates. Kevin Durant scored 17 and finished one assist shy of a double-double. Quinn Cook and Draymond Green each finished with 14. On a night when Zaza Pachulia was held to just four points, McGee made up for it with 11 and Shaun Livingston collected 10.
The shorthanded Suns shot just 42.4 percent from the game and only 10-for-35 on 3-pointers, but still had five double-digit scorers. Danuel House Jr. led Phoenix with a career-high 22. Alex Len (16 points, 10 rebounds), Bender (14 points, 14 rebounds) and Tyler Ulis (15 points, 10 assists) all posted double-doubles, while Jared Dudley added 11 off the bench. Even with a deep scoring attack, the hosts just couldn’t keep up, missing far too many shots to have a chance to knock off the #2 team in the Western Conference.
Phoenix did have an overall 44-41 rebounding advantage, but picking up just eight offensive rebounds on 53 missed shots wasn’t going to cut it. The Warriors only gathered five offensive boards, but it was hardly an issue as they shot over 50 percent from the field.
The loss guarantees the Suns the worst record in the NBA and the most ping pong balls at the draft lottery, where they’ll have a 25 percent chance of earning the top pick in the upcoming draft.