The Warriors hope to get the bad taste of Thursday night’s loss out of their mouths as they face the Suns for the third time in this young season. Addressing recent turnover issues could be a key in taking on a Phoenix team that’s played Golden State unexpectedly well so far this year.
The Suns have pushed the Warriors
While posting a meager 6-13 record coming into this game, Phoenix played Golden State fairly well before ultimately falling short in the teams’ prior games. Every team seems to bring its best when facing the Dubs.
In the Warriors’ third game of the season, Kevin Durant racked up 37 points in Phoenix to guide the Dubs to a 106-100 win, back when Klay Thompson was shooting poorly. The trio of Thompson, Curry, and Durant scored a combined 89 points at home in the second match up with Phoenix as Golden State pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 133-120 victory. But the Suns had leads in the fourth quarter in both games; these wins didn’t come easily.
One concern despite the two wins is that the Suns’ Devin Booker didn’t play well in either game. Booker made just 3 of 12 shots in the first match up and 6 of 18 in the second. Golden State probably deserves some credit for making it tough on the rising star, but we might also expect Booker to score with more efficiency tonight than in the earlier meetings.
Phoenix is coming off of a surprising win over visiting Atlanta on Wednesday night, which involved an inspired effort by the Suns bench. The Suns are a below average 3-point shooting team thus far this season, but they managed to shoot better from behind the arc than the Hawks in notching that 109-107 win. We’ll see how well they maintain that momentum heading back to Roaracle.
Watch the turnovers
Golden State, meanwhile, is looking to rebound after a disappointing loss to Houston in which the Warriors didn’t put forth their best effort. Stephen Curry tallied five turnovers against the Rockets (and 14 in the last three games) while Draymond Green turned over the ball four times.
Curry and Green are two of the team’s primary ball handlers, so we should expect them to turn the ball over to some extent. But the poor decision making involved with some of the turnovers in recent games is alarming and one would hope that these types of plays aren’t developing into bad habits (like, I don’t know, high leg kicks).
Green consistently makes brilliant passes to cutting teammates to set up easy scores, but he can also force passes where they are likely to be stolen by the other team. Meanwhile, Curry can be so casual with his passes that defenders pounce on them to initiate fast breaks. And don’t get me started on some of the passes that David West has attempted this season...
Against teams that prefer a fast pace, such as Phoenix, the Warriors need to tighten up their passing game and reinforce good habits when facilitating their offense. There’s plenty of time to develop better habits, but games in which Golden State is heavily favored are ones in which the bad habits tend to show their faces. Let’s see if the Dubs exercise a little more caution with their passes in starting a new win streak.