SAN FRANCISCO – When Monty Williams learned that Stephen Curry would return to the court and that Splash Brother Clay Thompson might also leave, the Suns coach decided that Phoenix would have to get it right and make some breaks of their own to beat the reigning NBA champions.
Somehow worn down by injuries, the undernourished Suns came out and absolutely dominated.
Mikal Bridges had 26 points, nine rebounds and five assists as Phoenix beat the Golden State Warriors 125-113 for the third time this season on Tuesday night, recording the season’s worst drift in six games.
Former Warriors guard Damion Lee received his championship ring at a pre-game ceremony from son-in-law Curry, then scored 22 points and grabbed seven rebounds against his former team. He converted six free throws in the final 1:13 and scored 14 of 14 from the line overall.
“I just thought it was a special night,” Williams said of the award ceremony, Lee’s performance and the win.
Dwayne Washington Jr. had 21 points, Dario Saric had 19 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, and Torrey Craig had 12 points and 14 rebounds for the Phoenix deep team, missing four of five starters and six of eight mains rotation. The Suns haven’t scored 100 points in their previous four games.
“Obviously it’s a big win for us that what you want to call happened to us over the past few weeks, but overall we had a connection and a spirit that surrounded us tonight, even when they cut it down to six.” Williams said.
Curry returned from an 11-game absence with a partially dislocated left shoulder and scored 24 points on 8-of-22 shooting. Thompson had 29 points with six 3s—four 3s and 14 points in the first quarter alone. 3 Jordan Pool with 1:28 left cut the score to 117-111 and he scored 27 points.
While Warriors coach Steve Kerr remarked, “Going 6-5 without Steph is an achievement,” the reigning NBA Finals MVP couldn’t do it all against a Phoenix team that didn’t have injured stars Devin Booker, Chris Paul. , Deandre Ayton and Cameron Johnson. The first two meetings in the desert were lopsided, with the Suns winning 134–105 and 130–119.
Kerr said Golden State had let their guard down because the Suns had lost so many players.
“We didn’t start competing until it was too late,” he said.
The Warriors lost three straight games after a season-best five-win streak, ending an eight-game home stance that was the longest in franchise history.
Andre Iguodala was sent off with 4:30 left in his second game of the season. But the reigning champions put their starting five back together for the first time in weeks.
Thompson came late with pain in his surgically repaired left knee due to a 115–101 loss to the Magic on Saturday night, the first time the Warriors lost straight home games all season. Now they should be on the road again trying to break their 3-16 record away from the Chase Center.
Lee, who has spent the last four seasons with Golden State, received a standing ovation when he first entered the game with a 5:09 mark in the first quarter.
“It’s amazing, it’s a special moment that I won’t take for granted” Lee said.
The Suns: Bridges played their 351st consecutive regular season game, their longest active streak ahead of Golden State big man Kevon Looney (152). Williams praises Bridges’ toughness in overcoming anything. “To pinpoint if it’s this or that, I think it’s a combination of things. I just know we appreciate it,” Williams said. “He’s just a guy who loves to play.” … The Suns will attempt a season when they return to the Chase Center again on March 13.
Warriors: Looney grabbed 10 or more rebounds in five straight games but missed to tie for a career-best sixth in a row. … Pool scored 20 or more points in eight straight games, the second-longest 20-point streak of his career. … The Warriors ended the game 5-3 on the home stand.
Sans: In Denver Wednesday night.
Warriors: In San Antonio Friday night.
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