Stephen Ellison

Warriors Cap 2018 With Thumping of Suns

The sight of the Phoenix Suns has become the closest thing to a guaranteed victory for the Warriors, and that again was the case Monday night.

Getting contributions from most everybody on the roster, the Warriors rolled to a 132-109 win on New Year’s Eve at Talking Stick Resort Arena.

Five players scored in double figures, led by 34 points from Stephen Curry and 25 from Kevin Durant, as the Warriors (25-13) piled on the offense.

Here are three takeaways from the win, the Warriors’ 17th in a row over the Suns (9-29):

Bell emerges from the depths: Jordan Bell’s minutes this season have been inconsistent, much like his performance. Not so on Monday.

Entering after starting center Kevon Looney picked up his third foul with 5:47 left in the half, Bell used the next 3:32 to submit his most scintillating stretch of the season: two points, two rebounds, two blocks and one assist -- with neither foul nor turnover.

During that brief stint, the Warriors pushed their lead from three points to eight, and generated the momentum for a 69-52 lead at the half.

Bell was at least as good after halftime. Playing 16 total minutes, he posted a season-high 10 points (on 5-of-5 shooting), six rebounds, three blocks and two assists.

If Bell can approach this effectiveness over the next few games, he’ll earn his way back into the rotation.

The rest of the bench also brought it: On a night when the coaching staff would like to sit the All-Stars in the fourth quarter, the reserves did their part to make it happen.

The backups poured in 46 points and did it on 54.5 percent shooting, including 33.3 percent from beyond the arc. Phoenix’s reserves countered with 27 points on 40 percent shooting, and shot 30 percent from deep.

While Bell undoubtedly was a big contributor, so were Shaun Livingston (10 points, 5-of-6 shooting), Andre Iguodala (five points, six assists, five rebounds and three blocks) and Quinn Cook (eight points, 3-of-6 shooting).

Because the bench was so solid, no Warrior played more than 33 minutes (Draymond Green), which is exactly as desired.

The nets were calling: The Suns entered the game ranked 27th in the NBA in defensive rating. The Warriors took full advantage.

They shot 54.8 percent from field, including 50 percent from beyond the arc. Every starter except Klay Thompson, who was 5-of-13 (38.5 percent), shot at least 50 percent.

Coming after a 50 percent shooting performance Saturday in Portland, this is the fourth time this season that the Warriors have posted consecutive games of at least 50 percent shooting -- and the first since Dec. 3-5 at Atlanta and Cleveland.

Sure, the Blazers are mediocre on defense and the Suns are worse. But the Warriors are trying to find the best of their offensive game. They have to start somewhere, and these teams make for a perfect launch point.

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