SAN FRANCISCO — It may be too early in the season to be dubbed rivals of the Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns, but the first half of their home and home matchups this week have presented the Suns as the Warriors’ most formidable foe.
Due to the Sun’s defensive length in a 104-96 loss on Tuesday night in Phoenix, Golden State will need to find a way to limit their turnover, free Steph Curry and re-ignite a skillful offense that Ended his worst performance for Friday. Rematch at Chase Center.
Curry was named Player of the Month for November by the NBA on Thursday, but he certainly didn’t look like Tuesday in Phoenix when he was 4-for-21 (19%) off the field, including a 3-off -14 was also included. three. Here’s how Kerr and the Warriors plan to get him back on track.
It’s easier said than done, but they will collectively need to slow down the offense and set up their counters, which should help Curry find a slot against Sun wing Mikael Bridge.
“We were in a hurry with the offensive, and a lot of it was because Phoenix played a great defense,” coach Steve Kerr said on Thursday. “This is a great film for us and a great reminder of why execution is so important. When you play against a great defense, they take away some of your best. And Phoenix did a good job of it. But you have to answer with a nice solid screen, a tough cut to see what they’re doing.”
The Suns have a great deal of length and athleticism on defense, closing the passing lanes Draymond Green and others use exclusively to find Curry. The closed passing lane not only cut off circulation to Curry, but was the source of the team’s 22 turnovers (compared to the Phoenix’s 12).
“Michael Bridges, defensively, was a beast,” Green said on his podcast, “The Drummond Green Show.” “He was incredibly defensive. All of his players are really good defensively as a team, but for him the snake head Mikael Bridges did an incredible job chasing Steph down defensively, passing alleys When they got a chance, they closed the street.”
Jordan Poole and Otto provided a needed spark, but neither of those two had enough scoring for the Warriors to be able to survive a game like that from Curry. Andrew Wiggins shot 4-for-12 and looked to be slowed down by a back cramp on Tuesday.
Poole has been the second most consecutive scoring option – he scored 28 points on a 9-of-16 shooting with six three-pointers on Tuesday with some room to work.
Porter Jr. warmed from across the arc on Tuesday, scoring 16 points in a season-high 30 minutes with four three-pointers. While Porter Jr. has played a limited number of minutes to start the season, he could play more as his minutes gradually build up – and his time on the floor as a consistent scorer could be crucial against the Suns.
“It seems like he’s getting more and more conditioned to be able to play the big minutes and I’m very comfortable getting him out in crunch time,” Kerr said. “So it’s likely he could play more, but he’s got a really good role here.”
Although his faster pace isolates the Warriors’ offense, he played much faster on Tuesday and could benefit from a slower, more thoughtful pace as well. Damian Lee could watch that game while playing on the couch from home during his paternity leave.
“It looked like we were in a bit of a hurry,” Lee said. “Turning the ball, those were the two takeaways that hurt us. Just take a breath, but be more patient on offense. The defense was really good and we had a chance in the last few minutes of the game despite our turnover. That’s it. Have to handle the ball, take good shots and trust each other.”
Who is playing on Friday?
Lee, another scoring threat off the bench, will return for Friday’s game after the birth of his and wife Sydel Curry-Lee’s son, Daxon Wardell-Xavier Lee, on November 26.
Lee last played on November 24 in the Warriors’ victory against the Philadelphia Sixers.
Lee said of the family, “Doing well, happy to be back and ready to get things done.”
Lee was sent last week to grapple with the Santa Cruz Warriors rehabilitating Klay Thompson.
“It was nice to go downstairs to do some work with the guys,” Lee said.
Kerr said Andre Iguodala would miss his eighth game in a row with a knee pain. He hasn’t played since the Warriors’ win against Brooklyn on November 16.
Jonathan Cuminga and Moses Moody will not be in San Francisco for Friday’s game – both were sent to Santa Cruz for a G-League game.
The Suns will be without star guard Devin Booker on Friday, who suffered a hamstring injury during the first half of Tuesday’s game.