The final eight games of the Golden State Warriors’ season represent little more than tuneups in preparation for what they hope will be a deep playoff run.
If the Phoenix Suns don’t get their act together soon, they won’t have anything significant to play for, either.
Golden State seeks an 11th straight victory while dealing another blow to visiting Phoenix’s slim postseason chances Thursday night.
The Warriors (61-13) have set a franchise record for wins and wrapped up the Western Conference’s top seed. They’ve remained focused, though, and overcame a 17-point deficit to complete a 4-0 road trip with Tuesday’s 110-106 win over the Los Angeles Clippers.
Stephen Curry scored 27 points and Klay Thompson added 25 for Golden State, which has won 15 of 16.
”Obviously, we have everything locked up in the West right now for the regular season, but this was a big win for us,” Curry said. ”It just felt good to get that win and keep our streak going.”
The Warriors sat Draymond Green for the second straight game as he recovers from shin pain. He’s questionable to play in this contest as Golden State looks to keep gaining momentum heading into the postseason.
”We just want to establish this high level of play every night so it becomes second nature," Thompson said.
The only thing consistent about the Suns (38-37) lately has been their collapse down the stretch. Phoenix trails Oklahoma City for the West’s final playoff spot and has dropped four straight.
The Suns fell 109-97 to the Thunder at home Sunday and 109-86 at Portland the following night, their seventh loss by at least 20 points.
”We played hard but they’re a good team,” said Eric Bledsoe, who had 12 points. ”At the end of the day, that’s why (the Trail Blazers are) in the position they’re in, trying to fight for a high seed.”
Phoenix remains mathematically alive in the race, but it is sounding as if it already knows its postseason fate.
"We had a great chance to at least make a (playoff) push and we gave a lot," said Marcus Morris, who along with his brother, Markieff, scored 11 points. "That was definitely emotionally challenging to come out but, at the end of the day, we’re privileged basketball players. It’s basketball. We’ve got to be happy to do this and be happy to play."
Gerald Green and T.J. Warren had 13 points off the bench for the Suns, who played for the ninth time in 10 games without point guard Brandon Knight. He missed eight straight with a left ankle sprain, then went 1 for 10 for three points against the Thunder before sitting out again Monday.
Phoenix, which dealt key guards Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas at the trade deadline, also lost center Alex Len against the Blazers to a broken nose. He’s expected to miss at least a week.
The Suns handed the Warriors their first loss of the season Nov. 9, winning 107-95 at home despite Curry’s 28 points and 10 assists.
Curry had 25 and seven assists in a 106-87 victory Jan. 31 and 36 points in a 98-80 win March 9.