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Warriors vs. Suns final score: Stephen Curry, Marreese Speights lead Golden State to 123-116 comeback win

The Warriors needed a MVP performance from Stephen Curry to defeat the Suns 123-116 and remain undefeated at home. Also, Marreese Speights.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Golden State Warriors color commentator Jim Barnett might have summed up the experience of watching Stephen Curry this season by simply saying anything can happen here as the reigning MVP crossed halfcourt with 5:23 left and the game tied at 108.

As Curry possessions go, it was one of the most mundane of a late-March 123-116 win against a 17-win team that turned out to be more exciting than it should have been: Curry came down, dribbled to the left wing, and flicked up another 3-point miss that most players would never imagine shooting and opponents haven't managed to solve. And even in missing that three, Barnett's point stood: in being totally unpredictable, Stephen Curry can turns games — and indeed an entire sport — on its head.

Curry re-entered tonight's game to begin the fourth quarter with the Golden State Warriors down nine and quite literally on their heels as the Phoenix Suns' young guards were playing like it never occurred to them that they were working against the weight of history.

The Warriors have been undefeated at home since LeBron James' herculean effort in the 2015 NBA Finals and the defending champions were chasing the historic 72-win mark that has stood as an impossible standard for two decades. The Suns threatened to ruin all of that with the combination of hot shooting from their youth and a bit of misfortune for the Warriors.

The Warriors were coming off the type of disastrous third quarter that only added to Stephen Curry's case for repeating as NBA MVP as they simply fell apart when he had to sit due to picking up his fourth foul with Andre Iguodala already out due to an ankle injury suffered on Friday night against the Portland Trail Blazers.

When Curry left the game, the Warriors were up four points with 7:55 left in the third; by the start of the fourth, they were down 9. While the Warriors had no way to replace one of the league's best offensive (Curry) and defensive (Iguodala) weapons, it was Suns guard Brandon Knight who ended up stepping up for 17 of his team-high 30 points in the third period to put the Warriors in a hole that that they'd have to find their way out of. And with Knight taking care of the scoring, rookie Devin Booker recorded five of his game-high 11 assists in the third.

Then Curry returned and everything seemed to change, from the way the Warriors played to the way that our expectations changed play-to-play.

It wasn't just total unpredictability as a scorer — he scored 15 of his game-high 35 points — but the attention that he required upon crossing half court, the way he spread the defense out to create passing and driving lanes, and simply the way that he seemed to inspire each and every one of his teammates after sitting at the brink of a disappointment possibly larger than losing to the L.A. Lakers or being blown out than the Portland Trail Blazers on the road.

Steve Kerr said after the game that they simply needed energy to overcome that nine-point deficit and there's little denying that Curry was the difference they needed. And Marreese Speights might have been the biggest beneficiary of that burst of energy.

Speights had 11 of his season-high 25 points in a little more than seven minutes of play, seemingly able to do whatever he wanted as a scorer. With Curry and Speights doing most of the heavy lifting to lead the Warriors to 57.7% fourth quarter shooting, the Warriors managed to cool off the Suns and hold them to just 31.8% shooting in the final period— take out Knight's continued strong performance, and the rest of the Suns shot just 3-for-15 in the last frame.

But despite the poor finish, there were bright spots for the Suns.

Although the Warriors led by four at halftime, they really struggled on the boards as they allowed eight offensive rebounds (for an offensive rebounding percentage of 33%) and got outscored 11-2 in second chance points. Suns forward Alex Len was the main problem as he went into halftime with a game-high 10 rebounds and team-high 17 points — yes, Len had a double-double at halftime.

But again, the bright spot in the first half for the Warriors (aside from having a lead) was Speights, who again came out playing inspired basketball with nine points, three boards, and a step back, fadeaway jumper.

Wait, what?


The Warriors will continue the quest for 73 on Monday against the New Orleans Pelicans, which will give Speights an opportunity to try his newfound moves against Anthony Davis.

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