Warriors aim to rebound vs. Suns

BY foxsports • December 2, 2016

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Golden State Warriors showed their vulnerability when they dropped a 132-127 double-overtime thriller to the Houston Rockets on Thursday night.

Unfortunately for Saturday's opponent, the Phoenix Suns, now the Warriors get another opportunity to demonstrate their invincibility.

Golden State will put its NBA-record streak of not having lost consecutive regular-season games (105) on the line Saturday when they face the Suns for the third time this season.

The Warriors have lost only three times this season. The first two times, they rebounded with 122-114 and 116-106 victories, both over the New Orleans Pelicans.

The last time Golden State had a two-game losing streak was April 5-7, 2015. They've played the Suns six times since then, and won all six.

But the most recent win didn't come easy.

In fact, the Suns led 111-106 in the fourth quarter in Oakland before Klay Thompson buried a pair of 3-pointers and three free throws during a 27-9 finish that produced a 133-120 victory.

That was Golden State's fourth straight win after its Nov. 4 loss to the Los Angeles. The Warriors extended that winning streak to 12 games before Thursday's nail-biter.

The Nov. 13 win over Phoenix also extended the Warriors' streak of regular-season games without consecutive losses to 96, breaking the record of 95 that was set by the Utah Jazz bridging the 1997-98 and 1998-99 seasons.

"It's really a remarkable achievement," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said at the time. "Everybody is going to lose games in this league. How you respond to those losses says a lot about your team."

The Suns responded well to a two-game home losing streak with an impressive 109-107 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday.

Phoenix once again demonstrated an improved defense in the win. Once statistically the worst defense in the league, the Suns allowed 107 or fewer points for the fifth time in their last seven games, a stretch during which their league ranking has improved two spots.

If the Suns are concerned about an aspect of their game now, it's ball distribution. Phoenix actually had more turnovers (17) than assists (15) in the Atlanta win.

Now they're up against arguably the best passing team in the NBA. While the Suns rank second-to-last in the league in assists per game (18.3), the Warriors are first (31.3).

In fact, Golden State recorded 30 or more assists in 10 straight games earlier this season, just three off the NBA record of 13 in a row.

The Suns haven't had a single game higher than 27 this season. In fact, they've failed to accumulate even 20 assists in 12 of their 19 games.

"We have to play more team basketball," Suns veteran Jared Dudley expressed to reporters at practice Friday. "We have to average 18 to 20 assists to give us a chance, because right now we're not a great shooting team."

The Warriors have held 27-19 and 32-27 assist advantages over the Suns in the two earlier meetings this season.

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