Suns look to end 17-game skid vs. Warriors
Klay Thompson gets an opportunity to celebrate his 29th birthday at one of the Golden State Warriors' favorite destinations Friday night, when the two-time defending champions visit the Phoenix Suns.
Two clubs streaking in opposite directions collide in a mismatch magnified by the fact that the Warriors have beaten the Suns 17 times in a row dating back to November of 2014.
The Pacific Division rivals have met twice this season with similar outcomes, with Golden State shooting better than 51 percent in both their 123-103 home and 132-109 road wins.
The Warriors will take the court Friday riding an NBA-best, 10-game road winning streak. Their last loss away from home came Dec. 19 at Utah.
Meanwhile, the Suns have lost four in a row at home and 12 straight overall since a home win over Denver on Jan. 12.
The Warriors have won 13 of 14 overall, including a 141-102 shellacking of the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night.
Golden State coach Steve Kerr credited being able to practice twice in the three days between games Saturday and Wednesday as a factor in the impressive performance, one that didn't surprise him.
"I'm not really in awe of it," he insisted to reporters after the game. "That's kind of what we're capable of."
No team knows that better than the Suns, against whom the Warriors have made 14 3-pointers in each of their two earlier wins this season.
Stephen Curry averaged 31.5 points and Kevin Durant 23.5 in the wins, which were accomplished without much help from Thompson, who totaled 31 points in the two games, shooting just 11-for-27 overall and 3-for-10 on 3-pointers.
Thompson had 28 points in a win over Chicago on his birthday two years ago, but he has scored a total of 44 points in his three other games on his birthday, with Golden State going 1-2.
The Warriors will see a different edition of the Suns than the one they beat in Phoenix on New Year's Eve. The Suns acquired Tyler Johnson and Wayne Ellington from Miami at the trade deadline for the Ryan Anderson, though Ellington was waived Thursday.
Phoenix is hoping Johnson, who can play both guard positions, proves to be a nice complement for standout guard Devin Booker.
"He brings some toughness, some energy, some healthy DNA that we need as a group," Suns coach Igor Kokoskov evaluated for the media. "Excited to have him."
The marriage with Booker might have to wait, however. He sat out Wednesday's 116-88 loss at Utah with a hamstring issue and is expected to be a game-time decision Friday.
Johnson made 10 starts for the Heat this season, scoring 15 or more points in four of them.
The left-hander had a 13-point game against the Warriors the last time he faced them in December of 2017.
--Field Level Media
Updated February 7, 2019