For the last time in the 2016-2017 NBA season, the Golden State Warriors played a road game on the back-end of a back-to-back. And faced with another young, athletic team, Golden State looked noticeably tired and uneven for long stretches.
Things started enjoyably enough, as the Dubs appeared set to roll to an easy win (even with Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala sidelined for rest).
The basketball gods were surely looking down on the Warriors tonight as Stephen Curry effortlessly poured in 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting...in just the first quarter! Shaun Livingston capped a 41-18 blitzkrieg with an I-D-G-A “alley-three” to end the first quarter. A lively Warriors defense, not looking the least bit winded after Tuesday night’s win, held the Suns to just 29.2% first quarter shooting.
And then the second quarter happened, and it all fell apart. Aside for Curry, the rest of the starters struggled to find the range for a time — Klay Thompson in particular suffered a pretty gruesome night, starting 0-of-7 from 3-point range.
Phoenix and their young athletes jumped the veteran Warriors in the second and third quarter, scoring big points on put back dunks and hustle plays. Al Williams (16 points and 17 rebounds), Tyler Ullis (20 points) and Marquese Chiss (eight points, 10 rebounds) allowed the home team to hang around until the very end.
But it was too much Curry. The point guard literally one-upped his Splash Brother’s performance against the Minnesota Timberwolves with 42 points (while shockingly shooting a worse free throw percentage than both his three-point and overall field goal percentage). The Warriors held on to win 120-111 in Phoenix, clinching home court advantage throughout the playoffs in the process.
In doing so, the Steve Kerr-era Warriors have become the first team in NBA history to win 65-or-more games in three consecutive seasons. They also extended their winning streak to 13 straight games with three to go. Not bad.
Talking Stick-ing Points
- Both teams entered the night’s action with matching 12-game streaks, and leave having extended each streak to 13.
- The Warriors finish an impressive 31-10 on the road in 2016-2017, including a third-straight season with 28+ road victories (yet another record).
- Steph missed three free throws. If you made a prop bet on this, you probably just won the deed to MGM Grand casino. Congratulations!
- It is really hard to foul Stephen Curry, I guess.