Warriors-Suns Preview

While they haven’t received as much acclaim as the Golden State

Warriors’ star-studded backcourt duo, Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic

have given the Phoenix Suns a formidable 1-2 punch of their

own.

Bledsoe and Dragic try to lead the Suns to a fifth consecutive

win Sunday night when they square off against the visiting

Warriors’ Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.

Phoenix (13-9) has won eight of 11 after beating Sacramento

116-107 on Friday. Bledsoe and Dragic combined for 57 points on

21-of-30 shooting as the Suns improved to 10-3 when scoring in

triple digits.

“Every game is better,” Dragic, who’s scored 60 in the past two

games, said of playing with Bledsoe. “I know what he’s going to do,

he knows what I’m going to do. We’ve got a good feeling about each

other and that’s really tough for opponents.”

Bledsoe, acquired from the Los Angeles Clippers this summer, is

averaging team highs of 19.2 points and 6.3 assists in his first

full season as a starter. Dragic isn’t far behind at 19.0 and 6.2

per game.

“(They’re) a great tag team,” coach Jeff Hornacek said. “…

Both of those guys trust each other. They feed off one another and

are starting to get a pretty good feel of what they can do

together.”

The Suns haven’t won five straight since Jan. 12-21, 2011, and

they could have difficulty matching that run with the Warriors

(13-11) coming to town. Golden State has taken six straight in the

series, including three in a row at Phoenix.

Those road wins, though, came by a combined eight points, and

Warriors coach Mark Jackson is expecting another battle Sunday.

“The one thing that jumps out, they play extremely hard at every

position. They get after it, they play with an edge,” he said.

“Obviously they have two guys in Bledsoe and Dragic that can get

anywhere they want on the floor.”

Curry and Thompson, meanwhile, are averaging a combined 44.2

points, giving Golden State the highest-scoring backcourt tandem in

the NBA. However, they were limited to 20 and 15, respectively,

while going a combined 2 of 12 from 3-point range in Friday’s

116-112 loss to Houston.

David Lee had 23 points and 10 rebounds and Harrison Barnes

added 20 and a season-high 12 boards, but the Rockets scored 22

points off 18 Warriors turnovers and held a 27-8 edge in

transition.

“We turned the basketball over and that cost us,” Jackson said.

“It was a tough loss for us, but ultimately it was because we

turned the basketball over too much. Can’t do that.”

The Warriors gave up 96.3 points per game in opening 8-3, but

they have since allowed 103.6 during a 5-8 stretch. Golden State is

10-2 when holding opponents to 101 points or fewer compared to 3-9

when it doesn’t.

“It’s coming, we just have to continue to get better. It’s

coming,” backup forward Draymond Green said.

Thompson, shooting 43.9 percent from long distance, leads the

NBA with 79 made 3s. He’s gone just 11 of 37 from beyond the arc

over the last five games, though.

The Warriors are 12-3 when Thompson makes at least three 3s

compared to 1-8 when he’s held to two or fewer. He has averaged

21.5 points while going 13 of 24 from 3-point range in four career

starts against Phoenix. Curry has put up averages of 22.3 points

and 11.3 assists over a three-game stretch in the series.

Dragic, averaging 19.5 points in his last six against Golden

State, matched a career high with 32 in a 111-107 home defeat April

5.