Suns go for 4th straight win over Warriors

BY foxsports • February 7, 2011

By MATT BEARDMORE
STATS Writer

The Golden State Warriors have been playing well on the defensive end. That certainly hasn't been the case when the Phoenix Suns have been in town.

The Warriors look to match a season high with their fourth straight win when they try to snap a three-game losing streak to the Suns on Monday night.

Despite ranking among the NBA's worst with 105.9 points allowed per game, Golden State (22-27) has been outstanding on defense over the last three contests, holding opponents to 88.3 points and 42.4 percent shooting.

The Warriors had one of their best defensive stretches of the season in the fourth quarter of a 101-90 victory over Chicago on Saturday, holding the Bulls to 18 points.

"Defensively we've been doing some great things, but we haven't been able to put it together for an entire game ... " coach Keith Smart said. "But today I think we did it ... except for a little bit of the third quarter, but we put it together in the fourth quarter where it was a perfect defensive game in the fourth quarter."

Golden State, though, has been far from perfect at the defensive end versus Phoenix (23-25). The Suns have averaged 123.0 points and 52.7 percent from the field in their last eight games in Oakland.

Phoenix has scored 122.3 points a game and shot 47.1 percent in taking nine of the last 11 overall meetings.

Despite going 6 of 18 from 3-point range, Phoenix made 54.8 percent from the floor and won its second in a row at Oracle Arena on Dec. 2, 107-101.

The Suns, however, are coming off a poor late-game effort in a 111-107 home loss to Oklahoma City on Friday. They made two field goals in the last three-plus minutes and were outscored 31-20 in the final period.

"Obviously we've got to do a little bit better job defensively in the fourth quarter," coach Alvin Gentry said, "but we also missed a bunch of shots that could've given us a little separation or could've kept us right there in the game."

Vince Carter kept the Suns in it with a season-high 33 points, but he went 1 of 7 in the fourth as Phoenix's three-game winning streak was snapped.

"Sometimes you feel like you have the hot hand and you are going to keep rolling," Carter told the Suns' official website. "(Missing shots) just happens sometimes."

That hasn't been the case recently for Warriors point guard Stephen Curry, who has averaged 24.1 points and 55.5 percent shooting over the last eight games.

Curry has also keyed the Warriors' tough defense of late, as he helped force Bulls All-Star guard Derrick Rose into a season-high nine turnovers Saturday.

"Tonight we wanted to press up on him, trap him when he had the ball and making him get (the ball) out of his hands to put them in tough situations," Curry said. "It worked out."

Curry's job won't get any easier against Phoenix's Steve Nash, who despite turning 37 on Monday is averaging 16.7 points and 11.0 assists - second best in the NBA.

Nash scored 13 points with 16 assists in the teams' last matchup in Oakland.

Warriors guard Monta Ellis had 38 points in that contest and has averaged 33.7 in the Suns' last three visits.


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