What We Learned On Defense As Cal Fuels Dubs Win Over Suns originally appeared nbc sports birea
SAN FRANCISCO — The Warriors haven’t had string-of-string wins this season, but their 123-112 defeat of the Phoenix Suns on Monday capped off an abbreviated homestand in the most spectacular fashion.
The win moves Golden State (36–33) into fifth place in the Western Conference standings and pushes its record at the Chase Center to 29–7.
The Warriors shot 54.2 percent from the field, including 48.7 percent from distance Klay Thompson had a game-high 38 points in the Nets, while Stephen Curry added 23 and Jordan Poole 20.
Here are three observations from a game in which the Warriors’ win avoids a four-game season sweep over fourth-place Phoenix and puts them 1.5 games behind the Suns:
Reminder: When Defense Cooks, Offense Eats
Maybe the lessons from the first 67 matches have been learned after all. The Warriors took the lead in the second quarter for the second game in a row.
And this time the margin was huge: 43-21.
Thompson’s scoring would get a lot of love, but it was Golden State’s defense that once again set the tone for the first quarter. The Suns missed their first four shots and seven of their first 10. This, along with four turnovers, allowed the Warriors to take a 22–7 lead with a little over six minutes remaining.
The Blazing Warriors were at 72.7 percent and led by 25 points, while limiting Phoenix to 38.1 percent shooting from the field for the quarter.
It’s a dramatic turnaround for a team that had so much trouble in the first quarter. Credit the defense, which forced six turnovers, for spoon-feeding a lot of the offense.
After taking a 28-26 first quarter lead over the Bucks on Saturday, it was the first time since February 4 that the Warriors won the opening quarter in consecutive games.
Brilliant first half from Kale
Anyone who’s watched the Warriors over the past 11 years has seen Nuclear Clay many times, yet the sight of it always sends an electric current through the building, especially when it’s their home arena.
The Klay “splashathon”, no matter how many times, remains something to behold, and it was on full display in the first half, providing the sold-out crowd with many moments of excitement.
Thompson ravaged the Suns for 33 points – the highest total by any Warrior in any half this season – on 12-of-18 shooting from the field, including 8 of 12 from beyond the arc.
With the usual variety of shots on Klay Heater, including improbable launches that found the bottom of the net, he poured in 16 of Golden State’s first 24 points, personally outscoring Phoenix 16–9 at that point. Gave.
Klay finished with 38 points (14-of-23, 8-of-14), but managed to put his fingerprints on a game in which he scored only five points in the second half.
The Warriors led by 25 points, and it seemed that the Phoenix team was completely lost due to the lack of Kevin Durant. But of course, it won’t be so neat and clean.
After narrowing the gap to 17 at the half, the Suns continued their onslaught in the third quarter, coming within nine (80–71) with 7:40 left in the quarter and as close as 4 to three (85–82). Reached: 32 left in the quarter.
Simply put, the Suns took advantage of the Golden State’s waning intensity.
Connected: Kerr believes it’s “crazy” Durant has yet to play in front of fans in Chase
However, the Warriors came back well, closing the quarter on an 11–4 run and leading 98–88.
This surge was enough to overcome most of the Sun’s desires, as the Warriors held a two-point lead going into the fourth quarter to button up the win.