5 takeaways from Warriors ending Suns franchise-record 18-game win streak – The Arizona Republic

5 takeaways from Warriors ending Suns franchise-record 18-game win streak – The Arizona Republic
Uncategorized
Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) drives against Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins during the first half of an NBA basketball game in San Francisco, Friday, Dec. 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu).

SAN FRANCISCO — The historic run is over.

Golden State snapped Phoenix’s franchise-record 18-game win streak Friday night, 118-96, before a sellout crowd of 18,064 at Chase Center as Devin Booker missed his second straight game with a left hamstring strain suffered in the first half of the Suns’ home win Tuesday over the Warriors.

The Warriors (19-3) hadn’t had a game since Tuesday’s loss while this was the second of a back-to-back for the Suns (19-4), who topped Detroit at home Thursday.

The Warriors led by as many as 27 in avenging Tuesday’s loss as Stephen Curry scored 23 points after an historic off shooting night .

Mikal Bridges suffered a dislocated right pinky finger in the first quarter as the Suns’ starting three finished with just seven points on 2-of-7 shooting.

Here are five takeaways from Friday’s first loss in over a month for the Suns as they went 16-0 in November.

1. Stephen Curry wasn’t off Friday night.

After his worst shooting performance ever when attempting at least 20 shots Tuesday night, Curry bounced back from a 4-of-21 effort (3-of-14 on 3s) by going 8-of-20 (6-of-11 on 3s) in the rematch with the Suns.

Curry had just 12 in the first of three meetings within 30 days between the Warriors and Suns with the final one coming Christmas Day in Phoenix.

It was a combination of Golden State creating switching opportunities to get Bridges off him, Curry being more effective and him simply making shots.

2. Bridges playing with the dislocated finger speaks to his toughness, but with Booker out, Phoenix needed him to be more aggressive.

He wasn’t.

Seemed to get more comfortable handling the ball, but didn’t look to score.

In his fourth NBA season, Bridges has never missed an NBA game. So he’s truly been the team’s iron man, but the Suns needed him to go for his offensively Friday night.

But it’s certainly understandable why he wasn’t aggressive.

Deandre Ayton said he didn’t think Bridges would return after seeing the look on his face after the injury, but Bridges did gut it out. 

3. Golden State stepped up its aggression level and it paid dividends in many ways.

The best examples of that were Juan Toscano-Anderson and Gary Payton II.

Not only did those two combine for 36 points off the bench, they were relentless in their attack on both ends.

They changed the game.

Then there’s Kevon Looney.

 He’s nowhere near the talent of Ayton.

Dec 3, 2021; San Francisco, California, USA; Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) spins towards the hoop against the Golden State Warriors in the second quarter at the Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

That’s even more evident when Looney isn’t playing with energy as that was the case Tuesday night. Ayton took it to him in going for 24 and 11.

Three days later, Ayton still put up the better numbers — 23 and 6 — but Looney made some key hustle plays, got a scrappy bucket and matched Ayton on the glass.

That can’t happen for Phoenix, especially when Ayton played 32 minutes to Looney’s 15.

Then Draymond Green lived up to his word by doing his “work early,” thus making it tougher for Ayton to dominate the glass. 

In short, Payton II and Toscano-Anderson made the Suns work to the point that when Payton II scored on a follow up inside, Ayton didn’t even try to block it.

4. Monty Williams was upset after Suns gave up a corner 3 to Payton II that led to him calling a timeout with 9:33 left in the game. 

The 3 put the Warriors up 15.

Now Payton II is a career 28.8% shooting from deep, but he came into Friday’s game making 36% of his 3s.

So he can’t just be left wide open.

Payton scored 19 off the bench, going 2-of-4 on 3s as he was part of Golden State speeding up the Suns on offense.

Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams gestures to players during the first half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors in San Francisco, Friday, Dec. 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu).

5. Phoenix will have two days between Friday night’s game and Monday’s rematch with the Spurs.

Then they’ll have four days between Monday’s game and Friday’s action against Boston.

So Phoenix will have time to give guys rest as Booker looks to return from the injury.

The Suns have eight game between now and that Christmas Day battle with Golden State.

Looking to see how they respond to not only the streak ending in a lopsided loss, but continuing to be short-handed.  

Have opinion about current state of the Suns? Reach Suns Insider Duane Rankin at dmrankin@gannett.com or contact him at 480-787-1240. Follow him on Twitter at @DuaneRankin.

Support local journalism. Start your online subscription.