Warriors aim for 19th straight win over Suns
The Golden State Warriors will go for their fourth consecutive season-series sweep of the Phoenix Suns when the clubs meet for the fourth and final time on Sunday night in Oakland, Calif.
The Warriors have won 18 straight against the Suns dating back to 2014 and 14 in a row at Oracle Arena. The last time Phoenix won at Golden State was in February of 2011, when Steve Kerr was a part-owner of the Suns franchise.
Golden State has added three wins to its run this season, easing to a 20-point victory at home in October before rolling to 23- and 10-point triumphs at Phoenix.
The key to the Warriors' success against the Suns this season has been their shooting. They've hit better than half their shots in all three games, and have outscored Phoenix 114-72 on 3-pointers.
Stephen Curry (14 of 33) had accounted for 42 of those 3-pointer points, while Kevin Durant (23 of 42) has burned the Suns with 55-percent shooting accuracy.
The teams enter the game on opposite ends of the rest spectrum.
The Warriors will be playing, at home no less, for just the second time in the last five days, whereas the Suns will have to endure the second half of a back-to-back following a 127-120 loss at Portland on Saturday night.
Golden State is coming off one of its most impressive wins of the season, a 122-105 romp over the Denver Nuggets in a battle of teams with the top two records in the Western Conference.
The Warriors admitted afterward they were energized by the embarrassment of a 33-point home loss to Boston in their previous game, a pride element they surely will not have again Sunday.
"We are not going to play with that energy every night; I'm not going to sit here and lie and act like we are," Warriors forward Draymond Green admitted to reporters after the win. "But we can play with that focus every night, and I think that's more important here going down the stretch.
"There is going to be some games where you don't have that energy. But if you have the right focus, then all of a sudden 17 turnovers is 10, and then we give ourselves a chance to win any game."
The Suns took a three-game winning streak to Portland on Saturday, then salvaged some of the momentum with a late rally that saw them get within five in the final seconds after having trailed by 29 with 10 minutes remaining.
The winning streak included a home win over Milwaukee that, surprisingly, allowed the Suns to become the first team in the NBA this year to sweep the season series from the Eastern Conference-leading Bucks.
One night after facing a Portland team that's playing for home-court advantage in the Western playoffs, the Suns will encounter a Warriors squad that can ill-afford a loss in its quest to hold off Denver and Houston for the best record in the West.
"Everybody is playing for something," Suns coach Igor Kokoskov noted to reporters on the eve of his club's back-to-back. "Everybody is going to be on a mission to win the next one. We have to accept the challenge."
--Field Level Media
Updated March 10, 2019