The memory of the aptly-dubbed Slash Bros. winning a Dec. 15 battle against the Splash Bros. wasn’t lost on either the Phoenix Suns or Golden State Warriors. But on Friday, it was the latter duo that used it as motivation.
While Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson spashed, slashed and gashed the Suns, Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe looked as if their performance from two weeks ago would happen just by stepping onto the court.
The Suns fell to the Warriors 115-86 in Oracle Arena, and their point guard duo certainly played their worst game of the season. Dragic scored eight points to go with three assists, and Bledsoe had just seven points, no assists and four personal fouls in 19 minutes.
Of course, nothing falls on two mens’ shoulders — and to be fair, Dragic appeared to pull up lame early in the game, prompting the training staff to outfit him with a calf sleeve soon after. Jeff Hornacek’s squad wasn’t getting all the easy looks it did when Golden State visited U.S. Airways Center two weeks ago, and on the flip side, the Warriors got layups at the rim off poor weakside rotations or wide open three-pointers.
To start the third quarter, Curry tossed a spicy dish to David Lee and soon grabbed a rebound and had already notched a triple-double, and he finished with 14 points, 16 assists and 13 boards. Seven minutes later, Hornacek had yanked Dragic and Bledsoe for Dionte Christmas and Ish Smith.
On to answering the questions following the worst loss of the year.
Is Andre Iguodala a difference-maker?
If it didn’t show up in the box score, it seemingly did just by watching the continuity of Golden State. While the Warriors’ defense looked flat out bad a few weeks back, there was a major step forward on Friday in terms of rotations being smooth and reactionary. Iguodala finished with eight points and three rebounds.
Aside from the Suns guard being outplayed, the outright rim-protecting domination by Andrew Bogut and the easy buckets at the hoop scored by David Lee, who went 7-of-10 from the floor, did Phoenix in for good.
The only good news for the Suns was the effort from P.J. Tucker, who had 12 boards and four assists.
Who wins Round 2 between the guards?
Here’s a simple way to sum it up: Curry was a rebound and an assist away from a triple-double at the half, when Golden State led 59-40. Meanwhile, Bledsoe scored five points and played just 12 minutes following a second-quarter benching soon after he entered, forced a shot and then fouled Warriors forward David Lee on a layup at the rim.
In the first half, the only good news was Klay Thompson picking up his third foul and only playing 11 minutes – then again, he had scored 11 points in those 11 minutes.
Bledsoe started the second half with three misses at the cup, prompting Hornacek to roll with Dionte Christmas midway through the third.
Which team can shoot better from deep?
The Suns couldn’t get it going in any way during the first half, but they certainly couldn’t score from beyond the arc. Golden State did an excellent job of recovering and challenging threes, and Phoenix went 1-for-11 in the first half. It wasn’t as if Hornacek’s squad was moving the ball to get solid three-point opportunities, however. The Suns had just four assists to 11 turnovers at halftime.
The Suns finished 4-of-23 (17.4 percent) from deep and 36 percent overall. The Warriors hit 52.9 percent and went 8-for-20 from deep.