Tuesday, September 26

From losing streaks to winning streaks: Suns lock out Curry and Warriors to continue remarkable turnaround

It’s only November, but it looked like the Suns desperately wanted a win over the fiery Golden State Warriors.

Losing Devin Booker to a hamstring injury before halftime, Phoenix focused on defense, producing an extraordinary effort on that end of the court to shut out Steph Curry and the Golden State offense.

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The victory helped the Suns extend their winning streak to 17 games, a franchise record. After the game, a smiling Deandre Ayton was asked about the team’s 17-game losing streak during his rookie campaign in 2018-19.

“Do you see how life is going?” he said with a laugh.

With Booker out of the game, the Suns were only able to collect 48 points after halftime, well below the 56.2 points that average throughout the season in the league’s second-best efficiency per 100 possessions.

To survive, they allowed the Warriors a measly 42 points, with Curry in particular managing just 12 points all night on 21 shots. The Warriors’ 96-point total is the lowest of the season, snapping a 43-game streak of crossing the 100-point plateau.

“Keeping a team like that, in the way they score, at 18 points in the fourth quarter is something we can reference to,” said head coach Monty Williams.

“We are a defensive team that is improving for sure, but this was just will and toughness. Not much scheme, not many plays, our guys just pushed for the win.”

Smothering the dynamic Warriors down the stretch, Phoenix conceded just seven points in the final 6:41 of the game, which included three turnovers while Mikal Bridges, Deandre Ayton and Chris Paul all posted steals.

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“The toughness, Chris playing 39 minutes speaks of his will and dedication to the game. Mikal’s defense, Steph missed a few shots, but I think the respect Mikal has for Steph and the defense of our team, we show him bodies. Guys give a step forward “.

The sixth-ranked defense a season ago, the Suns have risen to a new level in 2021-22, entering tonight only behind the Warriors when it comes to defensive efficiency.

Bridges, who played the key defensive role over Curry, logged 41 minutes on the night. He only managed two points on four shots, but there he was alongside Ayton at the postgame press conference with a big smile, in the perfect illustration of the generosity of the group at the moment.

Coming into the league together through the same draft, Ayton recognized that 19-63 season, with the current version of the Suns earning their 18th win before December.

“We wanted to turn this around since we got here,” Ayton said. “I wanted to start a winning legacy in Phoenix. Just have the big pieces. We are willing to take that constructive criticism, not take it personally, but learn.”

Tonight’s lesson was learning how to win without Devin Booker against the best defense in the league. They passed with great success.


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