PHOENIX (AP) Devin Booker hit a 3-pointer in the final minute of the third quarter when Golden State’s Stephen Curry tried to stay game with him, putting a hand in his face. Booker made the shot anyway as Curry dropped his head in frustration.
No matter how many points the Warriors superstar scored, the Suns came right back with an answer.
Cameron Payne had a career-high 29 points, Booker added 27 and Phoenix easily surpassed Curry’s 50-point night to beat Golden State 130-119 on Wednesday. All five Suns starters scored in double figures.
”It’s important to have a team,” Booker said of the balanced production. ”That gives you longevity and you get three seasons.”
The Suns dominated most of the game despite Curry’s scoring. The eight-time All-Star made 17 of 28 shots, going 7 of 11 from 3-point range.
The problem for the Warriors was that no one else was helping. Klay Thompson finished with 19 points but shot just 6 of 17. The Warriors – defending NBA champs – fell to 6-9 for the season.
”I think right now, we’re just spread out,” Golden State coach Steve Kerr said. ”It’s a pick-up game. It’s a pick-up game there.”
Curry’s scoring prowess is expected, but he was countered by one of the best games of Payne’s career. Starting in place of the injured Chris Paul, the 6-foot-3 guard made 9 of 17 shots, including 6 of 10 from beyond the arc.
Coach Monty Williams praised Payne’s play but also criticized the guard’s decisions late in the game, including picking up a flagrant foul.
“Cam can score the ball and he had seven assists to go with it,” Williams said. ”But in final moments, it has to be better. We don’t need that fool at the end of games.”
The Suns led 103-89 entering the fourth quarter. The Warriors quickly cut into that margin but could get no closer than eight points. Damion Lee hit back-to-back 3-pointers against his former team to keep the Suns comfortably ahead.
The Suns shot 21 of 40 (52.5%) from 3-point range and had 33 assists. Mikal Bridges had 23 points and a career-high nine assists. Torrey Craig added 13 points and 10 rebounds.
HOT FIRST HALF
It was a frenetic first half with both teams shooting very well – especially from behind the arc. The Suns led 72-65 at the break, with Curry scoring 31 points. Payne had 18 for the Suns and Booker had 16.
Curry was at his best in the first half, making 10 of 13 shots from the field, including 4 of 5 3-pointers. The two-time MVP came into the game averaging about 31 points per game and hit that mark with a free throw near the end of the second quarter.
”Steph is going to have his Steph moments,” Williams said.
The Warriors were essentially at full strength and the Suns were missing two injured starters – Paul and Cam Johnson – and a key reserve in Landry Shamet.
The two teams were playing again just over three weeks after the Suns beat the Warriors by nearly 30 points. That match was notable for seven technical fouls and a spat between Booker and Thompson that resulted in Thompson’s first career ejection.
Warriors: Kevon Looney scored 10 points in the first half on 5 of 5 shooting. … Curry was called for a technical in the third quarter. … Curry passed Mitch Richmond for 49th on the NBA’s career scoring list.
Suns: Paul (right heel pain), Shamet (concussion) and Johnson (right meniscus tear) did not play. … Debuted a special blue City Edition Uniform as part of a night to honor the Tribal Nation of Arizona. … The team was called for a technical foul in the first half after being called for two delays of games. … They hosted their 34th consecutive sellout.
Heroes: Host New York on Friday night.
Suns: At Utah on Friday night.
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