Warriors 124, Suns 112 – Over before it began

The Suns were doomed by a dreadful first 2:38. (AP/Ben Margot)

The Suns were doomed by a dreadful first 2:38. (AP/Ben Margot)

Two minutes and 38 seconds.

That’s how long it took for the Warriors to jump out to a 17-2 lead and how long it took for any momentum from the Suns’ 48-point blowout on Monday to putter out.

That’s how long it took for the Warriors to hit five three-pointers and six shots in all, how long it took for Kelenna Azubuike to score 11 points, how long it took for the Suns to commit two turnovers and miss three shots and how long it took for Terry Porter to call two timeouts.

Two minutes and 38 seconds is all it took for the Suns to have no chance in an eventual 124-112 defeat that is sure to put another nail in the coffin of the Phoenix Suns as we know them today.

“We just never really recovered from that first quarter,” Porter told The Associated Press. “They just came out gave us a TKO punch. They were knocking down everything from the perimeter, hitting threes. … It concerns me, the level that we’re playing at right now. We’ve got to get back to playing consistent basketball every night.”

Yes the Suns do, as there’s nothing consistent about sandwiching a 48-point victory between losses to teams that on paper they should beat. We can’t even count on the Suns to be interesting anymore, as the winner has led wire to wire in their last three games.

In the old days, the Suns would at least fight back to take a lead in such a game even if they eventually end up losing, but two minutes and 38 seconds in you almost got the feeling that the game was over. And it was.

The Warriors must enjoy having Phoenix in town, though, as their eventual 43-point first quarter was a common occurrence when these teams face off in Oakland, as it’s now happened in three of the last four meetings.

For once, turnovers weren’t a huge issue (13), the Suns won the rebounding battle (46-40) and the Warriors only shot a decent clip better than Phoenix (52.2 percent to 45.6 percent), which means the biggest reason Golden State never let up has to do with Don Nelson’s beloved three-point line.

The Warriors scored 18 more points from three while taking only four more attempts in a game they won by 12, as the Suns shot worse than 30 percent from behind the arc.

Not too many of Golden State’s shots were heavily contested either, as slow rotations left shooters wide open from deep and just as often open for easy midrange jumpers. The Warriors’ stellar ball movement just picked the Suns apart.

The defense in the Sacramento game was tantalizingly solid, but now we know why Shaq referred to that as a “fool’s gold” blowout.

Shaq was the one consistent offensive force against the small-ball Warriors, going for 17 points on 8-for-9 shooting and 12 boards in 28 minutes. With the aid of Shaq the Suns cut the lead to 11 with 3:11 left in the third, but when Amare then entered the game for the Diesel the Warriors increased the lead to 21 by the end of the quarter and made the fourth meaningless.

This was not the right game for Shaq to be the team’s offensive MVP. In prior years, Nash would slice and dice up the Warriors’ league-worst defense, but the transition game just wasn’t there most of the evening.

J-Rich scored a team-high 24 points, but he shouldn’t be taking 22 shots even in a game you know he was trying to show off a bit for his former home crowd.

The other former Warrior I thought could go off tonight with the adrenaline pumping was Matt Barnes, and you knew he wanted to impress when he came right in and jacked up a three not exactly in the flow of the offense. Barnes ended up missing his first seven shots (four threes) and didn’t hit a shot until garbage time.

Despite the loss the Suns remained percentage points ahead of Utah for the final playoff spot, but the rest of the pack is inching away, with Phoenix now 2 1/2 games out of seventh place.

The Suns better figure out what went wrong tonight quickly because in a mere 48 hours from tip time Wednesday none other than these same Golden State Warriors will pay a visit to US Airways Center.

For starters, it might not hurt to begin with a better two minutes and 38 seconds.

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Tags: Jason Richardson

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