Curry's 34 points help Warriors scorch Suns, 132-109
By JOSE M. ROMERO, Associated Press
PHOENIX (AP) — The Golden State Warriors needed until midway through the second quarter to find their rhythm against the West’s last-place team.
Once they did, the NBA champions rolled to victory again.
Stephen Curry scored 34 points and Kevin Durant added 25, leading the Warriors over the Phoenix Suns 132-109 on Monday night.
The Warriors beat the Suns for the 17th straight time, including eight in a row in Phoenix.
Golden State (25-13) was 14 for 28 on 3-pointers, with Curry going 5 of 9.
“Pretty much the whole second quarter and beyond, we were just disciplined defensively and played with a purpose on offense,” Curry said. “Created good shots. It was a great night.”
Deandre Ayton had 25 points and 10 rebounds for the Suns, who have lost five of six. T.J Warren added 24 points and Devin Booker 20.
Golden State led for all but 1 minute, 17 seconds of the first half, though the Suns stayed close early. The Warriors went ahead 39-31 on a 3 from Curry with 10 minutes to go in the second.
Curry had 12 points in the second quarter and added a team-high nine rebounds for the game.
The Suns scored the next eight points to tie it, and were even at 45 before the Warriors closed out the half on a 24-7 run.
A 3 from Andre Iguodala, a layup and free throw from Jonas Jerebko and Iguodala’s pair of free throws gave the Warriors a 69-52 lead at the break.
“There’s such a low margin for error when you play the champs,” Suns coach Igor Kokoskov said.
Ayton’s hook shot with 6:19 left in the third quarter cut the Warriors’ lead to 82-72, but Golden State took control again. A 3 and two free throws from Durant gave the Warriors a 100-81 lead with 1:38 to play.
“I thought we slowed them down and we beat them with our minds instead of just outrunning them,” Durant said. “Our offense and our talent just take over and we just made shots.”
Quinn Cook knocked down a 3 just before the third-quarter buzzer for a 108-87 lead, and Curry’s two 3s early in the fourth quarter helped Golden State go up by 27 points.
“They just turned it up,” Ayton said. “They got a lot of transition baskets, they got a lot of early stops and forced a lot of tough shots.”
The Warriors, in the absence of a true big man, used starters Kevon Looney and Draymond Green plus Jordan Bell off the bench to guard the 7-foot-1 Ayton. No Golden State defender on Ayton was taller than 6-9.
Bell was the most physical of the group and was rewarded with extended minutes. He blocked Ayton’s shot under the basket in the third quarter and at the other end by made all five shots he took for a season-high 10 points.
“I just tried to get a little closer to the rim and wherever my man went, I just cut right behind him,” Bell said. “Tried to keep him (Ayton) off the offensive board. Tough, tough task to do that.”
Golden State’s bench combined for 46 points, and drew praise from coach Steve Kerr.
“I thought the second unit mid-second quarter changed the whole game,” Kerr said.
Warriors: For the 10th time this season, the Warriors’ starting lineup was Durant, Green, Looney, Klay Thompson and Curry. They’re 6-4 with that group. … Curry has scored 30 or more points in 13 games this season. … The Warriors’ point total was the third-highest in a game this season.
Suns: Backup C Richaun Holmes missed the game due to illness, the second game in which he’s not played this season. That opened up minutes for seldom-used Dragan Bender, who played for the first time since Dec. 17 and scored for the first time since Dec. 11, 10 games ago. … F Josh Jackson fouled out late in the third quarter and played only 14 minutes, his lowest total since Nov. 21. … C Eric Moreland made his Suns debut when entered the game in the fourth quarter. Moreland signed with Phoenix on Dec. 10.
Warriors: Host Houston Thursday night.
Suns: Host Philadelphia Wednesday night, the fourth game of a season-high seven straight at home.
More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/tag/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports