PHOENIX – The Warriors for, many many years would come to the Sonoran desert to wheeze, stagger and collapse. They were powerless against the Phoenix Suns.
Those days are over, and the Warriors – who once lost 18 consecutive games in Phoenix – will try to keep them in the past on Sunday afternoon, when they face the Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena.
The Warriors have undergone a few major changes in recent years, rising from bums and to join the league’s elite, and so have the Suns, who are in the midst of a seven-year playoff drought – the longest in franchise history.
The Warriors will try to capitalize on their talent and know-how to quickly put away a Suns team with four players age 20 or younger.
Warriors by 11.5
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Klay Thompson vs. Devin Booker: Booker’s shooting is important for the Suns, and his 3-ball (he’s 2-of-11) has not yet arrived. The same can be said of Thompson, who is 3-of-15 from deep. This trend won’t last for either. Booker turns 20 years old Sunday, and Thompson wants to spoil the kid’s birthday. Should he succeed the Suns will get burned.
Warriors: G Pat McCaw (L ankle sprain) and C Damian Jones (R pectoral surgery) are listed as out.
Suns: No injuries listed.
The Warriors last season swept four games and have won 15 of the 18, including the last seven. Dating back to 1968, however, they are 95-137 against Phoenix.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
The Suns generally follow their best players – Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Knight and Booker – all of whom happen to be guards. With McCaw out, the Warriors are down to four pure guards. If Steph Curry or Klay Thompson gets into foul trouble, Phoenix could take advantage.
The Warriors have not found their footing on defense, and are allowing more points than any team in the league. The Suns haven’t found their offense, particularly from deep, where their 20.5-percent shooting ranks 29th in the NBA. Which team will get well at the expense of the other?
Leandro Barbosa, the popular former Warriors guard, became free agent in July and signed a two-year contract with the Suns. The veteran didn’t play well in preseason, played only three minutes in the opener and not at all two nights ago at Oklahoma City. He knows the Warriors well. Will it matter?