Warriors, red-hot Curry host Suns
OAKLAND, Calif. -- One of the hottest shooting guards in the NBA hooks up with one of the coldest shooting backcourts in the league Sunday night when the Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns meet for the second time this season.
Kevin Durant poured in 37 points when the clubs dueled Oct. 30 in Phoenix, leading Golden State to a narrow 106-100 victory.
Stephen Curry hit nine of his 17 shots, including five 3-pointers, that night, but things have since changed for the league's reigning Most Valuable Player.
Curry had his record-breaking, 157-game streak with at least one made 3-pointer end three games later against the Los Angeles Lakers, and he's been making opponent pay ever since.
He set another record three nights later, burying 13 from long range against New Orleans, and followed that up with a total of 11 more in subsequent wins over Dallas and Denver.
Curry enters Sunday's game having scored 103 points in his last three games, making 24 3-pointers and 34 of his 55 shots in all.
"Not at all surprising," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after Curry's 46-point barrage against the Pelicans on Monday. "He's done it throughout his career where he comes right back off of a bad game and lights it up."
The bad news Sunday for the Suns is that another Warrior -- Durant -- has a bounce-back motive after seeing his run of 72 games scoring at least 20 points come to an end in Thursday's victory at Denver.
Durant had 18 points in the win, which was Golden State's third in a row.
Having been off since Thursday, the Warriors face a Suns team that endured a tight game Saturday night, and then traveled after it.
The Suns were beaten 122-104 at home by the Brooklyn Nets, a game Phoenix trailed 102-100 before the visitors ran off 17 straight points to send Phoenix to its third defeat in its last four outings.
The loss was as much a product of bad shooting by the Suns as it was the late flurry by the Nets. Suns guards Eric Bledsoe (1 for 8), Devin Booker (5 for 18) and Brandon Knight (2 for 13) combined to miss 31 of their 39 shots on a night when Phoenix shot a season-low 37.4 percent.
Suns coach Earl Watson said his guards fell right into the trap set up by the Brooklyn defense.
"This is the first team that played defense the way they played it," the coach observed after the game. "They did a great job of taking away the paint."
The Suns fired up 107 shots, most in the NBA this season. Almost one-third of them (33) were 3-pointers, probably not a good idea for a team that's shot 29.4 percent from beyond the arc this season, the third-lowest figure in the league.
One reason the Suns have found themselves shooting more from the perimeter of late has been the absence of center Tyson Chandler, who has missed the last three games following the death of his mother.
The Suns are hoping to get Chandler back for Wednesday's game at Denver.