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Warriors still searching for defense after 134-105 loss to Suns

The Warriors and Suns got chippy in a potential postseason preview and the Dubs came up short.

Golden State Warriors v Phoenix Suns Photo by Kate Frese/NBAE via Getty Images

The Golden State Warriors fell to 2-2 on the season after a 134-105 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night. In their first road trip of the season, the Warriors traveled to Phoenix for a potential postseason preview. Most fans expected Golden State to face the Suns in the Western Conference Finals last postseason, but Phoenix was upended by the Dallas Mavericks.

The Suns led 37-29 at the end of the first quarter, carrying a hot offensive start through the quarter. As has been the story of most of the Warriors games this season, both teams were flying offensively, but the Dubs were struggling to slow down their opponent.

Golden State tried a new second unit that relegated Jonathan Kuminga to the bench for Moses Moody and had starting small forward Andrew Wiggins join a young lineup, and it had some promising moments on Tuesday. They went on a 12-2 run to start the second quarter, briefly tying the game at 39 before a small Suns run.

This time, it was the Warriors starters who struggled to build off the bench’s momentum, entering the half trailing 72-66. The Warriors have now allowed at least 70 points in the first half in three of their first four games. A disappointing sign from a team that has been one of the most consistent defensive teams in the league over the past two years.

Golden State was frustrated by the referees calls throughout the game. The Suns had shot 25 free throws before the Warriors had attempted 10. That disparity combined with the history between both teams came to a head halfway through the third quarter when the referees gave out seven technical fouls in a span of four minutes, ejecting Klay Thompson after a dispute with Suns guard Devin Booker. It was the first ejection of Thompson’s NBA career.

Already struggling defensively, the Warriors fell off a cliff after Thompson left the game. The Suns went on a 11-0 run, carried a 105-86 lead into the fourth quarter, and never looked back.

The Warriors reserves chipped away at Phoenix’s lead and a made three from Steph cut the lead to 12 with 7:32 left in regulation. Suns head coach Monty Williams called a timeout to try and slow down Golden State’s momentum and the Warriors were unable to ever get any closer.

Booker scored a game-high 34 points with 2 rebounds, 7 assists, and 3 steals with a +32 plus/minus. Deandre Ayton recorded a 16 points and 14 rebounds double-double. Chris Paul also recorded 16 points, 7 rebounds, and 9 assists.

Curry led the Warriors with 21 points, 7 rebounds, and 8 assists, but was unusually inefficient from the field (7-for-17) and missed two of his five free-throw attempts. Draymond Green was easily the Dubs second-best player, finishing with 14 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals, but did commit 5 turnovers. Andrew Wiggins, Moody, James Wiseman, and Jordan Poole all finished in double figures as well.

Poole and Wiseman continued racking up points off the bench, combining to score 29 points on 11-for-20 shooting from the field, but the Dubs continued to struggle on the scoreboard during their minutes with a -15 and -19 plus/minus, respectively.

The Warriors will return home to face the Miami Heat on Thursday. Opening tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 PM Pacific.

You can rewatch our postgame show below and make sure to subscribe to Marc on Twitch to get notifications to join future Warriors conversatons.

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