Phoenix Suffocates Steph Curry In “The Valley Of The Sun “| First Clash Of Western Conference Elite

PHOENIX, AZ - NOVEMBER 30: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors drives to the basket during the game against the Phoenix Suns on November 30, 2021 at Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)

Coming into a highly anticipated matchup with the Golden State Warriors (18-2), the Phoenix Suns (17-3) were on a 16-game winning streak. In the end, the Suns prevailed 104-96, in the process tying the franchise record for consecutive wins with 17, set in (2007).

Tuesday night in “The Valley of the Sun,” two great teams (neither at full strength) battled it out, playing quality basketball for four quarters.

In fact, this game was the first in NBA history where both teams entered with at least an .850 winning percentage and on at least a 7-game winning streak.

Warriors Not At Full Strength, Suns Lose Booker 

Phoenix lost Devin Booker to a hamstring early in the second quarter, and the Warriors haven’t had Klay Thompson in over two years, but that’s soon to change. Golden State was also missing center James Wiseman, who has yet to play after off-season surgery.

Both players have been assigned to the team’s G-League affiliate as they prepare to join the roster around Christmas or sooner. Both squads showed how formidable they’ll be all season and especially come playoff time.

Chances are this will be the Western Conference Finals matchup in June. The series is sure to be an unbelievable six or seven-game series.

Suns Don’t Have NBA Finals Hangover

Phoenix began the season 1-3 and looked like they were suffering from an NBA Finals hangover. With future Hall of Famer Chris Paul leading the way, Phoenix kicked it into gear and have since reeled off 17 consecutive wins.

Chris Paul Defies Father Time In Phoenix A Year After Trade To Suns

Paul’s leadership and accountability are invaluable to the Suns as the team facilitates the growth of Mikal Bridges, DeAndre Austin and Devin Booker to create the perfect winning chemistry. The additions of veterans JaVale McGee and Landry Shamet provide added dimensions of size and shooting, which the Suns lacked in their NBA finals collapse.

Monty Williams‘ team has all the ingredients to win a championship.

Both Teams Play The Right Way: A Credit To Steve Kerr And Monty Williams

On a night where Steph Curry shot an uncharacteristic 4-of-21, the Suns can take some credit for executing a solid defensive scheme designed to make it hard for him.

Curry missed some open shots, but there was very little airspace given to him by the lengthy Mikal Bridges and other Suns defenders. Great strategy by Williams to put long defenders on Curry all game. Now it’s up to Kerr to make an adjustment the next time they face each other on Friday.

His job will be to get Curry more quality looks at the basket without having to dribble 15-20 times to get a shot. The pending addition of Klay Thompson will alleviate some of Curry’s offensive burden.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr had this to say about the defenses Steph is facing nightly.

“If teams are going to commit people to Steph the way Phoenix did, then there’s gonna be openings. There’s going to be opening for Jordan Poole, gonna be openings for Otto Porter, gonna be openings for Klay Thompson. That’s gonna be fun.”

Those other guys didn’t really exploit Phoenix’s hyper focus on Steph Curry on Tuesday night, so going forward Dub Nation’s supporting cast (outside of Jordan Poole) has to start stepping their games up in crucial matchups. The Warriors also had no answer for Suns big man DeAndre Ayton (24 pts, 11 rebounds, 11-of-19 from the field).

Overall, the Warriors are battle tested, so expect a big response on Friday. This matchup is just a taste of what’s to come later in the season when the games get even more competitive and physical.


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