Suns topple Warriors, extend winning streak to 17 games

At 18-3, Phoenix is tied with Golden State for the NBA’s best record

The+reigning+Western+Conference+champion+Phoenix+Suns+are+off+to+another+hot+start+this+season.

Michael Tipton

The reigning Western Conference champion Phoenix Suns are off to another hot start this season.

The Phoenix Suns took down the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night, despite losing star guard Devin Booker to a hamstring injury in the first half. The Footprint Center crowd looked on as the host Suns shut down the Warriors’ early-season MVP candidate Stephen Curry on the way to a 104-96 win — Phoenix’s 17th consecutive victory.

This is the first time the Warriors have failed to score over 100 points in a game this season, and the result moved the Suns into first place in the NBA’s Western Conference.

“Our guys just willed themselves to a victory,” Suns coach Monty Williams told the media after the final buzzer.

A fast-paced first quarter saw both offenses ignite. The Warriors led after one quarter, but the league’s top-ranked defense struggled to contain Phoenix big men Deandre Ayton and JaVale McGee, who feasted on close-range shots.

The Suns held a slim 56-54 lead at halftime, with Ayton and Mikal Bridges making tremendous defensive plays to bottle up the explosive Golden State offense.

In the third quarter, the game settled into a more-defensive rhythm. Both teams scored 24 points in the frame as Curry continued to struggle. He finished with only 12 points on the night.

Ayton became the focal point in the fourth quarter, helping guide the Suns to a big win. The former number one overall draft pick showed a soft touch to the tune of a team-high 24 points, and his 11 rebounds were a game high.

“I just think he’s imposing his will in a number of ways,” Williams said about Ayton. “He realizes how much stronger he is, especially against smaller guys…DA’s pretty efficient, and he’s unselfish.”

Where there typically would have been a clutch Booker shot to close out the game for Phoenix, it was instead Jae Crowder and Chris Paul keeping the visitors from the Bay Area at bay. After back-to-back triples from Crowder and a mid-range finish from Paul, offseason acquisition Landry Shamet drilled a dagger three to wrap up the win.

“Our offensive execution was really, really poor,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said following the game. “It felt to me like we were in a rush that whole game.”

The Suns forced 23 Warriors turnovers, and Golden State will not have to wait very long for a rematch. These two championship contenders will meet again at San Francisco’s Chase Center on Friday night.

“We’ve got to play these guys (again) in a few days, I’m not giving (Stephen Curry) any fuel at all,” Williams responded when asked how his team slowed down the Warriors’ superstar. “Great player, probably had an off night tonight…can’t expect him to have nights like that consistently.”