Suns clinch top draft odds with latest loss to Warriors
PHOENIX — Klay Thompson‘s shooting touch seems playoff-ready.
The Golden State guard scored 22 of his 34 points in the first quarter and the Warriors beat Phoenix for the 15th consecutive time, 117-100 on Sunday night in the final home game of the Suns‘ awful season.
“It was good to get into a good rhythm, especially with a game left in the season,” Thompson said. “You want to have some great momentum going into this playoff stretch.”
Kevin Durant added 17 points and nine assists for the Warriors, whose winning streak against Phoenix is a franchise record for a single opponent.
With the loss, and Memphis’ win over Detroit, Phoenix — at 20-61 — is assured the worst record in the NBA and, consequently, the most ping pong balls in the May 15 draft lottery.
Coach Triano addresses the media after tonight’s loss to the Warriors. pic.twitter.com/IQ2a6fjTZJ
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) April 9, 2018
The Warriors, who had lost two in a row and five of their previous eight, were already locked in to the No. 2 playoff spot in the Western Conference and working to get healthy for the playoffs, but still had Durant, Thompson and Draymond Green in the lineup against the severely depleted Suns.
Phoenix was without Devin Booker (right hand sprain), T.J. Warren (left knee inflammation), Josh Jackson (right quad contusion), Marquese Chriss (hip soreness), Elfrid Payton (left knee) and Alan Williams (right knee soreness). Troy Daniels tried to play despite a sprained ankle but sat out the second half.
The goal these last couple of games is to avoid any further health issues, Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.
“But that is more luck of the draw than anything,” he said. “I am glad we got through this game in a good way health-wise and did some good things and one more to go.”
Thompson scored 19 consecutive Warriors points in the first quarter, going 9 for 11 from the field and 4 for 6 on 3s in the period.
“That was a scorching first quarter,” Kerr said. “That was fun to watch. He had the arena pretty excited too every time he went up for a shot. He had it rolling.”
Book talks about tonight’s team energy on the floor, the fans, and what’s ahead for the Suns! pic.twitter.com/z3V7dR4swd
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) April 9, 2018
But Golden State led only 33-29 after one.
The Warriors stretched the lead in the second quarter. Durant scored on a 3-pointer — his first field goal of the game — and added a driving layup to put the Warriors up 55-41. Golden State led by as many as 18 in the second quarter and were up 64-50 at the break.
The Suns never seriously challenged after that.
“These are the dog days right now,” Phoenix interim coach Jay Triano said. “You can see with the number of guys we’ve got banged up. A lot of guys can’t make it through (82 games). Teams that are going into the playoffs are going through the same things.”
Phoenix has won twice — in 28 games — since Jan. 31 and is guaranteed to finish no better than 21-61, the second-worst record in the franchise’s 50-year history. Only the 1968-69 mark of 16-66 was worse.
The past three seasons, the Suns have won 23, 24 and 20 games. Highly competitive in the Steve Nash era, they will miss the playoffs for the eighth consecutive season.
Phoenix has lost 31 of its last 34. The Suns have a 25 percent chance of securing the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.
This was the 34th different starting lineup Phoenix has used this season. … Booker has missed the last 11 games but has not been declared out of the Tuesday night season finale. … Jackson was hurt in the team’s loss to New Orleans on Friday night.
Suns play at Dallas on Tuesday night in last game of season.