PHOENIX – The best shooting backcourt in the league today is certainly Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, but the Phoenix Suns’ duo of Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic might be the least appreciated. While it was the easy pregame storyline to point to, a little in-game drama did enough to say the two Suns saw it as a statement game.
Or maybe it was just another game, because the duo has been torching opponents over the course of their last five.
The Suns held off the Warriors 106-102, got enough defensive stops down the stretch thanks to P.J. Tucker and Miles Plumlee, then closed it out with free throws to earn their fifth victory in a row.
As it has been during the four-game winning streak leading into Sunday night, the Phoenix backcourt duo set the box score on fire. They combined for 45 points, 12 assists, seven steals and 6-for-9 three-point shooting.
But statement game? For the team trying to prove its start isn’t a fluke, yes, sir.
And as much as Golden State had not answers for the Suns on offense, it was especially impressive that Phoenix’s backcourt stymied Thompson and Curry past what their totals indicated. For an evening, they were the two guys who squashed the Splash Bros.
With Phoenix leading by two points, though, it was P.J. Tucker who didn’t think twice about switching with Bledsoe on Curry to force a fadeaway so tough the Warriors guard landed on his back. Plumlee altered a Thompson layup at the rim a play later, and that was that.
To the questions.
Can turning the ball over early be avoided?
It was, and it put the Suns in control. Phoenix committed two turnovers in the first quarter and had just five in the entire first half. If it weren’t for the Suns allowing Golden State to make a late push in the final 1:30 of the second quarter, Jeff Hornacek’s team could have been leading by double-digits. The Suns had a 59-46 advantage but allowed Curry to score five points as part of a 7-0 run before the break.
But that decent start kept the Suns in control of the game throughout. While Golden State’s defense looked like an abomination, Phoenix set itself up to play from ahead and hold off a rally at home.
How well does Goran Dragic shoot from three?
It started off well for Dragic, who hit his first attempt from deep after Curry failed to chase him all that closely across a on the right wing. He hit his second as well, then nailed an early triple in the second half on the first play the Warriors went to a zone defense.
On a transition play with 5:35 to play in the third, Dragic drifted to the left corner in front of the Golden State bench, drilled it from the corner and barked at the Warriors as he ran back to the bench with the Suns leading 74-65.
Dragic hit all four of his threes on the night, and Phoenix hit 48.1 percent as a team.
Do the Suns do anything to stop Steph Curry or Klay Thompson, or no?
Early on, Curry terribly underthrew two long passes and then off a screen pulled up with a shot that was half bank, half not and definitely not well thought-out. Thompson was simply quiet in the first half and only hit one fadeaway despite being defended by the smaller Dragic. The Slovenian actually played Thompson quite well, and Bledsoe seemed like a tough matchup for Curry to crack.
Curry got hot in the third quarter, scoring 11 after putting in just 10 first-half points and turning the ball over four times. His confidence was found when Bledsoe was subbed out, forcing Dragic to chase him around.
Curry finished with 30 on 8-for-17 shooting, and Thompson hit 7-of-17 shots for 19 points.