Following their second loss in two nights on Wednesday, the Suns returned to Phoenix intent on recapturing the momentum they enjoyed during their previous five-game win streak.
If they do so, it will start at the expense of Golden State, who is emerging from their own mid-season rough patch. The Warriors are coming off a double-digit win against Chicago, and have won three of their last four.
The game also bears importance in the standings, where Golden State (sixth)holds just a half-game lead over Phoenix (seventh). Each team has beaten the other on its home floor, making Saturday an opportunity to clinch at least a tie in the season series.
They scored 108 points in a loss at Houston, but are they back?
Jeff Hornacek doesn’t think so, and had the team focus on the nuances of its half-court offense in practices leading up to Saturday.
Phoenix would love to produce quality looks from beyond the arc, where they haven’t hit better than 33 percent since beating Indiana on Jan. 30.
Golden State’s All-Star guard put on a show in the previous meeting between the two teams, finishing with a triple-double of 14 points, 16 assists and 13 rebounds.
In the Suns’ earlier win over the Warriors this season, Curry did damage, but it wasn’t nearly as outrageous: 30 points on less than 50 perent shooting, and just seven assists compared to six turnovers.
Phoenix needs to force Curry into a similarly inefficient night. If they do, the rest of the Warriors’ offense will be altered for the worse.
Phoenix got six players in double-figures in Wednesday’s loss, but Dragic was the only player to finish with more than 13.
Leandro Barbosa came on late in Tuesday’s defeat to Chicago, but the Suns were playing catch-up at that point.>
Gerald Green is the team’s third-leading scorer this season, but Phoenix doesn’t necessarily need him to be the latter of Suns’ 1-2 offensive punch. Just someone.
When it comes to giving the ball away, Golden State is the second-most generous team in the league. Phoenix capitalized on that in their first meeting, coming up with 15 steals, including 10 from its starting perimeter players.
Eric Bledsoe was a factor in those games, but Gerald Green has also proven capable of anticipating in the passing lanes and getting easy transition buckets as a result.
If the Warriors display their usual carelessness with the basketball, Phoenix’s ability to take advantage could swing the game.
The Suns have made a habit of playing well in the first quarter, averaging over 48 percent shooting and outscoring opponents by nearly two points in the first period.
In their back-to-back losses, Phoenix was outscored by a combined 13 points.
Such a trend is crippling, particularly at home where the Suns like to feed off the home-court crowd for energy and fast break points. Look for how Phoenix fares to start the game.
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