Suns Recap: Stephen Curry, Brandon Knight Injury Bury Suns

Mar 9, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Brandon Knight reacts on the court after suffering an injury in the second quarter against the Golden State Warriors at US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 9, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Brandon Knight reacts on the court after suffering an injury in the second quarter against the Golden State Warriors at US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Coming off a 4-8 streak in their last 12 games, the Phoenix Suns were hoping a five-game home stand could help get them back into the thick of the Western Conference playoff race. Facing the top team in the league in the Golden State Warriors, an injury to Brandon Knight put a damper on those playoff hopes regardless of the result — a 98-80 defeat.

In Phoenix’s first home game since Markieff Morris publicly criticized the team’s fan support, the Suns were getting outplayed by Golden State’s star-studded backcourt of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson when Knight rolled his left ankle and had to be helped to the locker room in the second quarter.

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Eric Bledsoe led the Suns with 19 points, Alex Len added 10 points and 11 rebounds and T.J. Warren tied his career-high of 11 points off the bench. The Dubs were led by 36 points, five assists and six rebounds from Curry and 25 from Thompson.

The last time the Suns faced off against the Dubs at US Airways Center, Golden State was missing Klay Thompson and Phoenix handed the Warriors their first loss of the season behind 27 turnovers for Steve Kerr‘s team.

This time around, Thompson was on the floor and the Suns looked very different from the team they were in November — especially since the Goran Dragic trade sent the last remaining member of the Suns from Steve Kerr’s tenure as general manager.

Luckily, the Suns received some good news after the game about Knight’s injury, but it did little to soften the blow of yet another demoralizing loss to one of the best teams in the NBA.

In the first quarter, Phoenix’s offense went completely stagnant, with very little movement off the ball and a ton of individual playmaking. Yet for as bad as the Suns played, even after surrendering a 10-2 lead to start the game, they only trailed 25-19 at the end of the first quarter.

However, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson combined for 20 of those 25 points, outscoring the entire Suns team by one point.

Markieff Morris made his first basket and drew loud cheers from the crowd, but he finished the night 1-for-8.

Even with Curry on the bench, the Warriors quickly dialed things up a notch in the second quarter. Going on a 9-2 run, the Dubs built a 34-23 advantage and outscored the Suns 22-0 in fast break points less than 16 minutes into the game, turning turnovers and missed shots into easy baskets.

The Warriors outscored the Suns 33-12 in fast break points for the game, with the Warriors racking up 33 points off of turnovers on the night.

Even after a 10-4 run cut Golden State’s lead back down to five, things got worse for the Suns when Brandon Knight went down with a sprained left ankle. He had been Phoenix’s Knight in shining armor to that point, posting 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting in 13 minutes.

Knight had was immediately helped to the locker room and couldn’t put any weight on his left leg at all.

The Suns went on a 9-0 run to tie the game at 46, and the fans at US Airways Center made a point of standing up and cheering their team on to show their support. Eric Bledsoe had 12 points at the half, while Keef played only 10 minutes due to early foul trouble.

Knight was ruled out of the game with the left ankle sprain.

Alex Len opened the second half with a couple of big plays, stuffing a Draymond Green dunk attempt on one end and dunking on Andrew Bogut a few plays later on the other.

But a 7-0 scoring spree from Curry opened up a 60-53 advantage for the Warriors. Despite being in the bonus for nearly eight minutes, Phoenix trailed 68-55 with four and a half minutes to play in the period.

The Splash Brothers combined for 17 of Golden State’s 30 points in the quarter, helping the Dubs build a 76-61 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Thanks to a Brandan Wright bucket at the buzzer, the Suns were able to pull within 15 after giving up an 18-6 run. Phoenix was outscored 30-15 in the pivotal third quarter, one that saw Gerald Green and the Morrii struggle to find the net.

The lone bright spot was Archie Goodwin coming in to run backup point guard, when he made two of the best passes of the night — including a nice look to T.J. Warren streaking through the lane for an easy layup.

Phoenix cut the deficit to 13 with nine minutes to go, but then Chef Curry started cooking. Scoring 15 of Golden State’s next 16 points, Curry singlehandedly put the game away and helped the Dubs extend their lead to 23.

When Stephen Curry goes supernova, there’s not a lot you can do to stop him. But his dynamic fourth quarter performance served as yet another reminder about the one thing the Suns lack: a bonafide superstar who can make plays like this:

The victory helped the Warriors improve to 11-3 on the second night of a back-to-back and prevented the Suns from becoming the first team in the NBA to beat Golden State twice this season.

The loss dropped the Suns to 33-32 and Phoenix now trails the Thunder by three games in the Western Conference standings.

Next: Suns Analysis: Breaking Down Phoenix's Recent Offensive Woes

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