Ahead of his team’s Christmas Day clash in Phoenix against the Suns, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr admitted he checks the standings every day.
When Kerr wakes up on Sunday, he’ll see a new team atop the Western Conference after Golden State’s 116-107 victory over the reigning conference champions.
âThe fact that this happened on Christmas, we’re on the road, what a great Christmas present for our guys,â Kerr said. “They obviously gave it to themselves, but it’s fun to play at Christmas, there is a special atmosphere and obviously this game with the two teams with the best record in the league had a special feeling.”
Thanks to a 33-point performance from Stephen Curry and eight points in the final two and a half minutes from Otto Porter Jr., the Warriors (27-6) handed the Suns (26-6) their third home loss of season and took a 2-1 lead in the head-to-head season series.
With six wing players absent for Saturday’s game, including four – Andrew Wiggins, Jordan Poole, Damion Lee and Moses Moody – who are part of the NBA’s health and safety protocols, the Warriors have entered a clash. already difficult with an outnumbered roster. The Warriors worried whether they would be able to score enough to keep pace with the Suns, but as he so often does, Curry provided the first answers to the team’s most pressing questions.
Curry entered Saturday averaging just 13.1 points in eight career Christmas Day games, but his historic holiday struggles did not follow him to Phoenix as the 13th-year veteran scored 33 points on 10 of the 27 from the ground. Curry had never scored more than 19 points or made more than two to three points in his previous starts on Christmas Day, but he drilled five to three points against the Suns and topped 30 points for the fourth game in a row. and the 13th time this season.
âI talked about it a lot and I knew what the numbers were saying,â Curry said of his previous Christmas woes. âSo it was really a concerted effort to get a good start and just have fun. Now I am ready to go home.
Curry received plenty of help on Saturday, especially in the fourth quarter as Porter made a pair of 16-foot jumpers on back-to-back possessions to take the Warriors’ lead from two points to six with 80 seconds left. Thirty-three seconds later, Porter took off around the top of the arc, caught a pass from Draymond Green, and hit a three-point to put the game out of reach and seal a Warriors victory.
âThe coach prepared a few games that set me free and my teammates did a good job finding me,â Porter said. âI was able to intervene, knock back a few shots and they kept finding me. So I entered a rhythm that came out of certain screens.
Saturday’s game marked the second start of the season for Porter, who was propelled into the starting lineup for the first time on Thursday against Memphis as Kerr sought another solid shooter for a squad that lacked production from Poole and Wiggins .
âHe can shoot the ball,â Curry said of Porter. “I know he suffered a lot of injuries but he has worked hard since arriving here this summer and you can tell he looked confident and put up with what he was trying to do for himself. return to its places and bring it down. ”
Despite the absence of the majority of their wingers due to health and safety protocols, the Warriors dictated the tempo of Saturday’s game throughout the first quarter as Golden State beat Phoenix 33-27 and received contributions up and down his alignment.
Curry scored 11 of his team-high 33 points in the first quarter while Green recorded six assists in the game’s opening eight minutes, but the Suns’ depth ultimately helped Phoenix overcome the start. hot from the Warriors. The Suns took their first lead of the game with 5:33 left in the second quarter when Deandre Ayton hit a 10-foot hook and carried a four-point advantage at halftime after veteran point guard Chris Paul pulled it off. a three dots with three seconds before the break.
In a Suns 14-3 run in the second quarter, Phoenix took advantage of Golden State’s second unit, which lacked offensive firepower and prone to fouls on the defensive end of the field. The Warriors trailed 62-58 at halftime but showed impressive resilience in the third quarter as center Kevon Looney and goalkeeper Quinndary Weatherspoon, who joined the team on a tough contract. 10 days, provided the energy essential for defense.
âOne of the reasons we felt really comfortable playing (Weatherspoon) was because of his defensive skills,â Kerr said. “We knew we were going to have to keep Devin Booker and Chris Pual on the switches and I thought Quinndary was fantastic.”
The Warriors and Suns entered the fourth quarter tied at 84-84 and that’s when Curry started his best streak of the game, scoring 10 points in the first five minutes of the quarter to help Golden State. to regain control of the game. As Phoenix was determined to take Curry down the home stretch, the Warriors leaned on Porter, who finished with a high of 19 points in the win.
The Warriors will have consecutive days off before returning to action Tuesday night at the Chase Center against the Denver Nuggets.