The Golden State Warriors were on the road to face the Phoenix Suns tonight in a game that they totally could’ve mailed in on their generally somnambulant journey to the end of the regular season.
Yet Klay Thompson started and ended the game hot to lead the Warriors to a 117-100 win.
Bob Fitzgerald opened tonight’s Golden State Warriors game in Phoenix by noting that Thompson was 56 points away from averaging 20 points per game; Thompson came out shooting like he expected to get all of that in the first quarter tonight.
Klay Thompson’s big first quarter
Thompson scored 22 of his game-high 34 points in the first quarter to give the Warriors a spark that they’ve been missing in recent games. If he can get 22 points in the Tuesday’s game in Utah, Thompson will finish the season averaging 20 points per game for the fourth straight season.
Kevin Durant finished one assist shy of a double-double with 17 points, a team-high 9 assists, and 4 rebounds. Draymond Green, Quinn Cook, JaVale McGee and Shaun Livingston also score double figures to give the Warriors six players in double figures.
Suns just didn’t have enough
But let’s not quite pretend that this was a riveting game -- about halfway through the third quarter of the Golden State Warriors’ win against the Phoenix Suns, Bob Fitzgerald sort of matter-of-factly uttered, “Both teams playing free and easy.”
And that was certainly a generous way of describing the intensity level in the second half of a game that simply wasn’t really in doubt — the Warriors didn’t aggressively impose their will upon the game, but the Suns weren’t exactly putting up much of a fight through the first three quarters.
That was totally to be expected coming into this game, of course: The Suns are pretty firmly in last place in the league and have no incentive to win, lest they sacrifice their position in the 2018 NBA Draft Lottery. The Warriors have been playing like they’ve been waiting for the playoffs to get here for weeks now.
Thanks to a combination of increased defensive energy from the Warriors and the Suns’ general ineptitude, the Suns shot just a tad under 40% for the game through the third quarter. The Suns did go on a run in the fourth quarter to give the Warriors a scare — and managed to shoot 52% in the final period — but Thompson got hot again long enough to put a lid on this one.
Suns wing Danuel House scored 8 of his team-high 22 in the fourth quarter and Tyler Ulis put up an impressive line of 15 points and a game-high 10 assists, but even with five players in double figures they just didn’t have the fire power to stay with the Warriors.
The Warriors’ final game of the 2018 NBA regular season will be on Tuesday on the road against the Utah Jazz, who will very likely have something to play for given these insane Western Conference seeding mess.
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