OAKLAND – With their 12-game win streak over, the Warriors return to the court Saturday night trying to avoid the slump that struck some of the NBA’s elite teams this week.
The Warriors (16-3) have gone an NBA-record 104 regular-season games without losing two in a row and they’ll seek to extend that streak when the Phoenix Suns (6-13) visit Oracle Arena for the second time this season.
But it has been a rough past few days for some of the league’s better teams. The defending NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers have lost three in a row, and the Los Angeles Clippers lost three straight before recovering to win their last two.
The Warriors are coming off a 132-127 double-overtime loss to Houston, while the Suns are coming off a victory over Atlanta.
Warriors by 17
MATCHUP TO WATCH:
Stephen Curry vs. Eric Bledsoe. Bledsoe may be the most muscular and physical point guard in the league, and he’ll try to use his physique to press Curry at every opportunity. Curry, however, is stronger than he looks and not only will push back but also utilize craftiness to exploit Bledsoe’s aggression.
Warriors: No injuries listed.
Suns: F T.J. Warren (head injury) is listed as out.
C Damian Jones is on assignment with Santa Cruz of the Development League.
Warriors: 9-1. Suns: 3-7.
The Warriors have won the last nine games, including two this season, by an average margin of 12.9 points. The nine-game streak ties the longest by either team since the Suns entered the NBA in 1968. Phoenix won nine straight from 1989-91.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH:
Return of the D. The Warriors continue to experience occasional lapses on defense, though most teams have not been skilled enough to take full advantage. Stellar defense against the Suns will give the Warriors a decided edge. This is a chance to put up a exemplary game.
Sprinters on display. The Suns lead the league in only one major category: pace. They play faster than any other team. The Warriors are not far behind, though, ranking third in the same category. Though both want to run, history shows the Warriors are better at it.
Risky kids. Phoenix ranks 25th in turnovers and dead last in assist-to-turnover ratio, a statistic in which the Warriors lead the NBA. Some of the miscue can be attributed to speed but much of is the result of youth; four players on the roster have yet to reach their 21st birthday.